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Tokyo Stocks Open Lower

April 21, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar was higher against the yen early Wednesday in Tokyo on renewed concerns about the pace of Japan’s economic recovery. Stock prices edged lower.

The dollar bought 118.76 yen, up 0.72 yen from late Tuesday in Tokyo but was slightly below its level of 118.78 yen in New York.

The Nikkei Stock Average lost 67.30 points, or 0.40 percent, to 16,629.81 in the first 30 minutes of trading. On Tuesday, the index gained 22.90 points, or 0.14 percent.

In currency dealings, the dollar strengthened mainly because of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Report, released Tuesday. The IMF revised downward its forecast for Japan’s gross domestic product to minus 1.4 percent from a December prediction of a 0.5 percent decline.

Recent warnings by Japanese finance officials against the yen’s excessive strength also sparked speculation that the nation’s central bank may intervene to curb the yen’s increase, discouraging yen-buying, traders said.

In other major currencies, the euro was traded at 126.28 yen, up from 125.57 yen late Tuesday in Tokyo.

On the stock market, prices slipped back after initial gains following strength in U.S. technology stocks, traders said.

On Tuesday in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average finished at 10,448.55 points, up 8.02.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the exchange’s first section was down 4.33 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,324.57. The TOPIX lost 3.79 points, or 0.28 percent, the previous day.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from Tuesday’s close of 1.500 percent. Its price remained at 102.64 yen.

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