Stocks Slide, Dollar Drops
TOKYO (AP) _ Profit-taking after Friday’s surge helped push Tokyo share prices down in sluggish trading today. The dollar also fell against the Japanese yen for the third consecutive session.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed at 21,065.08, down 135.96 points, or 0.64 percent, from Friday’s finish of 21,201.04. On Friday, the average had jumped 429.93 points, or 2.07 percent.
The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 3.82 points, or 0.24 percent, to 1,572.83. It had climbed 14.66 points Friday.
Volume on the first section totaled about 250 million shares, down from 399.21 million Friday. Declines issues outnumbered advances 573 to 447, while 211 issues were unchanged.
Tomio Uchida, manager of the equity division at Cosmo Securities, said incentives were lacking to push share prices higher. But the Nikkei average was supported above 21,000 because domestic investors will buy shares below that level, he said.
Hiroshi Morimoto of Daiwa Securities said the Nikkei held up well.
``I think it’s a positive sign that the Nikkei managed to stay above the 21,000 level,′ Morimoto said.
Meanwhile, the dollar was stuck in a narrow range in quiet trading, dealers said.
In late afternoon, it was changing hands at 111.64 yen, down 0.49 yen from 112.13 late Friday in Tokyo and below its 111.50 late Friday in New York. It now has lost a total of 2.84 yen in Tokyo’s last three trading days.
In today’s trading, it ranged between 111.35 yen and 111.97 yen.
Players moved to sell the dollar as it neared 112 yen, but strong buying interest by Japanese importers and investors was providing support.
Dealers also were finding it difficult to make moves ahead of market closures in the United States and Singapore for holidays today.
The market still was trying to grapple with the implications of a series of comments by officials from Japan’s Ministry of Finance last week.
A remark Thursday by Eisuke Sakakibara, head of the ministry’s international finance bureau, that he had no thoughts of guiding the yen lower sent the dollar tumbling 2 percent against the yen.
``Now people are trying to get an idea of what a good level for the dollar is,′ said Akira Kase, general manager of foreign exchange management and trading at Marubeni Corp.
The benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond was quoted at 101.77 yen, down from Friday’s close of 102.06 yen. Its yield rose to 2.750 percent from 2.710 percent.