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Nikkei drops to 1-month low on concern over emerging markets, China

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 | 1:26 AM ET

TOKYO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average dropped 1.9 percent to a one-month low on Friday as declines in emerging market currencies spooked investors and the previous day's weak China factory survey continued to hurt sentiment. The Nikkei ended 304.33 points lower to 15,391.56, the lowest closing level since Dec 17. It was the biggest one-day fall since Jan. 14. The index dropped 2.2 percent this week, its third straight weekly decline. A number of emerging country currencies came under pressure as many suspect the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to cut its massive bond-buying stimulus at next week's policy meeting. The Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar, the South African rand slumped to a 5-1/2 year trough and the Russian rouble fell to its weakest in nearly five years. Currencies from Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico all took a beating as well. "Everyone was reminded about last May's turmoil when investors unwound their positions in emerging markets on worries about Fed's tapering," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. The Topix dropped 1.8 percent to 1,264.60. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, which started trading in January, shed 1.8 percent to 11,420.16.