Stocks Tumble, Dollar Gains for Fourth Consecutive Trading Day
TOKYO (AP) _ Stock prices fell sharply today in Tokyo while the dollar gained against the Japanese yen for the fourth consecutive session.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 685.04 points, or 3.06 percent, closing at 21,696.86. On Friday, the average fell 731.74 points, or 3.16 percent.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section, which fell 39.25 points Friday, was down 40.32 points, or 2.42 percent, to 1,619.84.
An estimated 180 million shares changed hands, down from Friday’s 225 million. Declining issues outnumbered advances 905 to 74, with 115 unchanged.
A scandal involving a key member of the prime minister’s faction helped send Tokyo share prices lower.
Tokyo prosecutors searched the home and office of Fumio Abe, former head of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa’s faction in the governing Liberal Democratic Party.
News reports said Abe was suspected of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Kyowa Corp., a now-bankrupt steel frame maker accused of seeking favors in connection with resort development projects.
From August 1989 until February 1990, Abe headed the government agency overseeing development of the northern island of Hokkaido.
Kyowa went bankrupt in May with debts totaling more than $158,000.
″This kind of political scandal added to the already weakening market,″ said Naoto Kanazawa, a trader with Taiheiyo Securities.
The trader said index-linked selling, accompanied by selling by investment trusts, also helped push the Nikkei average down.
Kazuhiko Hatakeyama, a trader with Cosmo Securities, said some institutional investors were selling before settling their accounts for the current fiscal year at the end of March.
Taiheiyo’s Kanazawa said most investors were holding back from buying for fear that the market has not yet hit bottom.
Meanwhile, the dollar closed at 126.30 yen, up 0.45 yen from Friday’s close but below its New York finish of 126.90 yen Friday. The dollar now has gained a total of 3.30 yen in Tokyo in four trading days.
After opening at 126.70 yen, it ranged between 126.25 yen and 126.90 yen. Spot trading totaled $6.41 billion, down from Friday’s $7.98 billion.
The dollar firmed in the morning following its rise Friday in New York on an unexpected increase in U.S. non-farm payrolls in December. It fell back, however, as exporters sold some of their dollars at the higher rates.
The benchmark No. 129 10-year Japanese government bonds closed at 105.95 points, down from Friday’s 106.01-point finish. Their yield rose to 5.350 percent from 5.340 percent.