Japanese stocks began the new fiscal year with the biggest loss in seven weeks, as business sentiment deteriorated to near a three-year low and a weak forecast from Panasonic Corp. sparked concern over corporate profits.
The Topix dropped 3.4 percent to 1,301.40 at the close in Tokyo, sinking for a fourth day to the lowest level in a month. The measure fell 4.7 percent this week after capping a 13 percent quarterly drop. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slumped 3.6 percent to 16,164.16 Friday after the Tankan index of confidence among large manufacturers missed economist estimates. A measure of volatility on the Nikkei 225 jumped 19 percent, the most since Feb. 9. The yen added 0.3 percent to 112.23 per dollar.