(CNBC) Financial markets around the world were roiled Thursday after Japanese stocks suffered their biggest slide since the country was hit by a devastating tsunami more than two years ago.

Several reasons have been blamed for the 7.3 percent fall in the Nikkei index to 14,483.98, including a spike in Japanese government bond yields and unexpectedly weak Chinese manufacturing figures.

Mixed messages from the U.S. Federal Reserve about when it may start withdrawing some of its monetary stimulus have also contributed to Thursday’s retreat.

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