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Dollar Higher in Tokyo, Stocks Fall

July 17, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stock prices slipped in morning trading Friday on profit-taking after four straight days of gains. The dollar declined slightly against the yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average fell 111.79 points, or 0.67 percent, to 16,620.13 as of midday. On Thursday, the Nikkei average had risen 117.78 points, or 0.71 percent.

Share prices were knocked lower as investors moved to lock in recent gains ahead of a three-day holiday weekend. The Nikkei index had rallied 641.86 points, or 4.0 percent, over the past four trading sessions.

Financial markets in Tokyo will be closed Monday for Japan’s Marine Day holiday.

``Although the market is weaker after the recent gains, further downside risk is limited as pension funds are seen actively buying blue chips,″ said Kunihiro Hatae, a general manager at Tokyo Securities Co.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was lost 2.58 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,280.73. The TOPIX had closed up 5.42 points, or 0.42 percent, the day before.

Uncertainty over the outcome of a struggle within the ruling party to name a successor to outgoing Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto also weighed on the market.

Hashimoto announced his intention to resign Monday after his Liberal Democratic Party suffered a humiliating defeat in elections for the upper house of Parliament. Once the ruling party selects Hashimoto’s replacement next Friday, both houses of Parliament will formally anoint a new premier in a vote expected by month’s end.

On the foreign exchange market, the dollar bought 139.41 yen in late morning trading, down 0.31 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo and also below its rate of 139.94 in New York.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.440 percent from Thursday’s finish of 1.435 percent, driving its price down to 110.10 from 110.16 the previous day.

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