Nikkei Average Dives over 1,200 Points in Morning (Update 1)

Tokyo, April 19 (Jiji Press) — Japan’s Nikkei stock average plunged over 1,200 points Friday morning, dragged down by overnight falls in U.S. high-tech stocks.

At 10:44 a.m., the benchmark index stood down 1,255.22 points, or 3.30 pct, from Thursday at 36,824.48, slipping below 37,000 for the first time since Feb. 9.

In Thursday’s trading, U.S. stocks skidded lower as investor sentiment was dampened by a rise in U.S. interest rates. U.S. high-tech issues came under selling pressure after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chip foundry, lowered its outlook for a chip market expansion, brokers said.

Japanese chip-related stocks lost ground sharply in Friday’s trading, pushing down the Nikkei.