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Tokyo’s Benchmark Share Index Slips

May 6, 2004

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s benchmark stock index fell for a fourth straight session Thursday as investors back from a five-day break sold shares in automakers and other exporters. The U.S. dollar was down from its level last week against the yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues fell 190.45 points, or 1.62 percent, to end at 11,571.34. On its last trading day Friday, the Nikkei lost 242.50 points, or 2.02 percent.

The dollar was quoted at 109.18 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Thursday, down 1.26 yen from the 110.44 yen it bought in Tokyo last week but above its level of 108.68 yen in New York trading late Wednesday.

Japanese financial markets were closed Monday to Wednesday for a string of national holidays.

The dollar’s decline against the yen during that stretch weighed on Japanese exporters Thursday including Honda, Nissan, Sony and TDK. A weaker dollar means Japanese exporters earn fewer yen from their sales in the United States.

Automakers were also hurt by data showing sales of new cars and trucks fell 4.4 percent in April, their third straight year-on-year decline.

The broader index of all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section dropped 21.07 points, or 1.77 percent, to end at 1,165.24. On Friday the TOPIX lost 20.61 points, or 1.71 percent.

Some investors were sidelined ahead of a key U.S. jobs report due Friday.

In other currency trading Thursday afternoon in Tokyo, the euro was quoted at 132.84 yen, up from 131.98 yen late Friday. Against the dollar, the euro was quoted at $1.2168, up from $1.1958.

The yield on Japan’s benchmark 10-year government bond was 1.4800 percent, down 1.5300 percent from late Friday. Its price rose 0.43 points to 100.17.


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