Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest carmaker, sank 1.7 percent. Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third-biggest carmaker by sales, lost 1.4 percent to 3,475 yen. Mazda Motor Corp., the nation’s second-largest car exporter, dropped 1.4 percent to 210 yen. Sony Corp., the country’s largest exporter of electronics, dropped 1.5 percent. Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan’s No. 1 shipping line, decreased 2.5 percent. Tobu Railway Co., a train and bus operator, plunged 12 percent after announcing it plans a share sale.
European shares closed lower on Thursday, on course for their biggest weekly fall in nearly eight months, as unrest in Libya crisis sent crude prices still higher, sparking worries about inflation and economic growth.
Major oil users were among the biggest fallers. German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) fell 2.7 percent, and International Consolidated Airlines Group (ICAG.L) shed 3.5 percent to its lowest close since it was formed last month from the merger of British Airways and Iberia.
Unrest in the world's 12th-biggest exporter has cut at least 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) from Libya's 1.6 million bpd output.
The energy sector recovered some lost ground as investors' concern about restricted output in the Middle East was offset by the benefit of higher crude prices.
Total (TOTF.PA), ENI (ENI.MI), BP (BP.L) and Repsol (REP.MC) rose between 0.9 and 1.6 percent.
U.S. stocks pared losses as oil retreated after climbing above $100 a barrel, easing concern that surging energy prices will hurt the economic recovery.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.4 percent to 1,301.64 after dropping 1 percent earlier. Crude oil for April delivery lost 0.7 percent to $97.41, retreating from an earlier high of $103.41. Treasuries trimmed gains, with the 10-year yield down four basis points to 3.43 percent after sinking as much as seven basis points.
U.S. stocks fell for a second day yesterday, dragging benchmark indexes to the biggest two-day drop in six months, as oil surged amid growing tensions in the Middle East and Hewlett- Packard Co.’s forecasts trailed estimates. The S&P 500 had risen 4 percent in 2011 through yesterday as reports showed an improving economy and earnings beat analysts’ estimates for the eighth straight quarter