Japan’s main index Nikkei-225 has finished the year 17 percent lower level than one year ago and at its lowest since 1982.
The index finished on Friday at 8,455.35 points, down 17.34 per cent from the 2010 close of 10,228.92 points. In 1982, the Nikkei index finished the year at 8,016.67 points.
By comparison, the S&P 500 index has gained 0.4 percent in 2011, while Europe’s FTSEurofirst 300 index, reflecting the continent’s debt crisis, has lost 11.5 percent.
2011 was a year full of unexpected crises. "There was the earthquake, the Thai floods and the European sovereign debt crisis. It’s difficult to say investors will rush back into equities next year, and as things stand it’s hard to see a clear theme for the market to rally round," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a senior market analyst at Monex Inc.
One of the worst falls this year on the Japanese stock exchange was that of Tepco, the operator of the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima, which lost 90 percent of its market value after the March disaster.
"It’s hard to see the tide moving back to equities early next year with so much uncertainty in Europe," said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan.