Stocks, Dollar Fall
TOKYO (AP) _ Share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed down Monday, as the dollar also edged lower against the Japanese yen.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed at 16,589.55 points, down 45.14 points, or 0.27 percent, from Friday’s finish. The index fell 146.29 points, or 0.87 percent, Friday.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section, which shed 8.73 points or 0.63 percent on Friday, lost 5.59 points, or 0.43 percent, to close at 1,283.93 points.
″It feels like all the buyers have disappeared,″ said Toshihiko Koiwai, a dealer at Marusan Securities.
Trading was extremely thin, with volume on the first section totaling 120 million shares, down from 210 million Friday.
Koiwai said investors pessimistic about Japan’s economic slowdown ″are really hoping for something on the policy side″ from the government to stimulate the stock market.
He said one factor restraining stock prices was the likelihood that large shareholders such as banks would sell if prices rise, hoping to make their balance sheets look better for the fiscal year that ends March 31.
On the foreign exchange market, the dollar closed at 125.36 yen, down 0.06 yen from Friday’s close at 125.42 yen. After opening at 125.30 yen, it traded in a narrow range during the day from 125.30 yen to 125.38 yen.
Kenji Tsujimura, a dealer with Citibank in Tokyo, said the dollar’s lower opening came on weekend news that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein apparently backed down and removed antiaircraft missiles in the ″no-fly″ zone in southern Iraq.
But Tsujimura said a new report that about 200 Iraqis crossed into Kuwait early Sunday was helping the dollar in morning trading.
The dollar is regarded as a safe haven in times of international unrest.
The Kuwait News Agency quoted the U.N. Observation Mission in Kuwait as saying that invading Iraqis seized missiles and other weapons in six trenches on the Kuwait side before returning to Iraq.
The price of the benchmark No. 145 10-year Japanese government bonds stood at 106.58 points, down from Friday’s 106.61-point finish. Their yield rose to 4.485 percent from 4.480 percent.