TOKYO -- The

Nasdaq Composite's

near 4% plunge overnight left investors in Asia with little appetite for Asian tech shares, and sent equities in Tokyo to their lowest level in more than six months.

With major buying from pension and mutual fund managers expected to come after the earnings rush in Japan is over in three weeks, Tokyo markets will be swayed by U.S. sentiments in the near term, traders said. Those keen on buying today tended to dump tech shares in favor of blue chips with little connection to the U.S.

The key

Nikkei 225

index shed 355.42 points, or 2.0%, to 17,844,54, its lowest close since October 28. The


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, fell 27.38, or 1.6%, to 1669.14, the


small-cap index lost 4.07, or 3.9%, to 99.69, while the Nikkei


market shed 55.37, or 2.6%, to 2063.68.

Many traders said they expected that with the

U.S. Federal Reserve

meeting coming up next week, along with expirations of May Nikkei options on May 12, technical selling will punch down the key Nikkei 225 index to around 17,000 over the next week.

Large electronic, telecom and Internet firms were mostly lower, courtesy of individual investors who are reportedly scared of being hit by any more Nasdaq tsunamis.


(SNE) - Get Report

lost 470 yen, or 3.9%, to 11,700,



shed 130, or 3.9%, to 3180,


fell 2000, or 7.4%, to 24,980, while

Japan Oracle

lost 5000, or 6.3%, to 74,500.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone


and its mobile phone unit


also headed south, after

Standard & Poor's

on Monday placed both firms' AA+ long-term ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications. S&P's move comes a few days after NTT Communications, an NTT unit, said it would buy U.S. Web manager Verio, and as NTT DoCoMo confirmed today it will take a 15% stake in Dutch Royal KPN's mobile phone unit, KPN Mobile. NTT fell 40,000, or 2.7%, to 1.42 million, while NTT DoCoMo slipped 170,000, or 4.4%, to 3.69 million.

Pioneer Electronic

(PIO) - Get Report

rose 120, or 3.8%, to 3320 on reports that Sony would use Pioneer's digital video disk technology in its DVD players.

The greenback inched slightly higher against the yen to fetch 108.82 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index dropped 124.10 points to 14,776.90 on extremely thin volume. Tech shares fell after Nasdaq's drop, while property and bank shares fell on rate worries, although prices rose off earlier lows by afternoon.

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

rose HK$0.50 to 56.00,

Pacific Century CyberWorks

shed 0.30, or 2.1%, to 13.90, while



climbed 0.25 to 84.50.



index shed 9.39 points, or 1.2%, to 760.85, while Taiwan's


index rose 19.66 to 8635.84.