The Japanese and Australian stocks nose-dive on Tuesday and join the global sell-off, after the stock markets in the US and Europe fell sharply lower the day earlier on the back of steep declines in the banking and financial sectors’ stocks. Rest of Asia remains closed for the Lunar New Year. China and Taiwan are shut for the week, while markets in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam are closed on Tuesday. Asian equities slump in holiday-thinned markets The Japanese benchmark index, the Nikkei 225 drops –4.33% to fresh three-week lows near 16,250 points, largely on the back of a stronger yen amid intensifying risk-off moods. Also, thin trades and high volatility are exaggerating the moves on the indices. Exporters' stocks were heavily battered on firmer yen, with Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Sony dropping between 4.50 and 5.60%. Meanwhile, USD/JPY drops to the lowest levels since Nov 2014, down -0.60% at 115.20. While heavy losses seen in the financial and banking stocks, on rising concerns over negative interest rate policy adopted by the BOJ, also hurt the region’s indices badly. The Australian markets are also tracked the weakness on the Wall Street overnight and followed suit, with the ASX 200 index now declining -2.23% to 4,864. Volatile oil prices as well as sharply lower banking stocks led the sell-off in the index. However, shares of gold miners capped the downside, with Newcrest up 8.05%, Alacer Gold rising by 7.09%, Evolution Mining surged 9.04% and Kingsgate rose 8%. Gold futures on Comex rose nearly 3.5% and broke above $1,200 for the first time since June on increased flight to safety. At the moment, the precious metal retreats -0.4%3% to $ 1192.10. For more information, read our latest forex news.