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Tokyo Stocks Fall in Morning

April 20, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stocks fell early Monday, while the U.S. dollar rose against the yen amid lingering pessimism about the outlook for Japan’s economy.

The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues slipped 46.71 points, or 0.30 percent, to 15,657.09 as of the end of morning trading. On Friday, the average closed down 179.97 points, or 1.13 percent.

``The market has dragged its weak sentiment over from last week,″ said Sachio Ishikawa, general manager of the stock division at Chuo Securities Co.

Ishikawa added that investors are holding back ahead of Friday’s expected announcement of the details of a 16 trillion yen ($121 billion) economic stimulus package.

Last week, the benchmark average dropped 777.32 points, or 4.7 percent, hurt by signs of slowing economic growth and the failure of leading central banks conduct coordinated intervention with the Bank of Japan to prop up the yen.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section slid 2.61 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,209.83. The TOPIX closed down 4.90 points, or 0.40 percent, on Friday.

In the currency market, the dollar bought 132.14 yen in late morning trading, up 0.26 yen from late Friday in Tokyo and also above its late New York rate on Friday of 131.79 yen.

The yen dropped in the absence of Japanese central bank intervention, which had helped buoy the yen last week.

Even so, Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of the international finance bureau at Japan’s Finance Ministry, said Monday that Japanese monetary authorities will take necessary steps to support the yen.

``It is desirable for the yen-weakening trend to be corrected quickly,″ he said.

The currency market’s reaction to the latest trade figures was muted. Japan said Monday that its March merchandise surplus rose 56.5 percent compared to the same month a year earlier to 1.3 trillion yen ($9.8 billion).

Meanwhile, the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond traded unchanged from Friday with a yield of 1.505 percent and a price of 109.89 yen.

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