Japanese stocks fell for a third day after the yen reached a four-week high as investors bought haven assets amid plunges in oil and the Russian ruble that are deepening concerns that the global economy is faltering.

The Topix slipped 0.5 percent to 1,346.98 at 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, after closing yesterday at a six-week low. All but seven of the 33 Topix industry groups retreated. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.5 percent to 16,675.87. The yen traded at 116.61 per dollar after advancing 1.2 percent yesterday. Investors are awaiting the conclusion of a Federal Reserve meeting today for signals on the outlook for U.S. interest rates.

Brent crude slipped below $60 for the first time in five years while U.S. oil was near its lowest since May 2009. Russias biggest interest-rate increase since 1998 failed to arrest the rubles slide amid the plunge in oil. The ruble sank beyond 80 per dollar for the first time, even after the Bank of Russia boosted its key rate by 6.5 percentage points.

Futures on the Standard & Poors 500 Index added 0.2 percent today. The underlying U.S. equity measure dropped 0.9 percent yesterday, lashing investors with the biggest stock swings in two months.

Source : Bloomberg