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Dollar Down, Stocks Higher in Tokyo

March 22, 1991

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar finished lower against the Japanese yen Friday, while share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange bounced back moderately.

The dollar closed at 137.05 yen, down 1.25 yen from Wednesday’s close of 138.30 yen. But it was higher than its overnight finish at 136.73 yen in New York. After opening at 136.95 yen, it ranged between 136.70 yen and 137.15 yen.

Japan’s financial markets were closed Thursday for Spring Equinox Day, a national holiday.

On the stock exchange, the Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues gained 163.84 points, or 0.62 percent, closing at 26,613.19. The average had shed 557.31 points, or 2.1 percent on Wednesday.

The benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil for May delivery was traded at 18.70-18.85 dollars a barrel at midafternoon, slightly higher than overnight closing levels in New York.

In bond dealings, the price of benchmark No. 129 10-year Japanese government bonds rose to 99.20 points at 3 p.m. (1 a.m. EST) from the previous day’s 98.76-point finish. Their yield fell to 6.54 percent from 6.62 percent.

Currency dealers said the dollar’s lower opening followed its decline Thursday in New York, where it fell following intervention by major central banks to stem the currency’s advance.

The dollar’s retreat came after it had gained 2.65 yen in the previous four consecutive trading days in Tokyo.

Hiroshi Mura, a dealer with Sumitomo Bank, said the exchange market remained quiet before the weekend.

″There was some dollar-buying by those who sold the currency in New York, but it is still unclear which direction the currency will move,″ Murata said.

Stock dealers said the Nikkei index started higher on the strength of the yen’s recovery against the dollar and firming Japanese government bond prices.

Haruhiko Takezawa of Okasan Securities said continuing speculation that the nation’s central bank will lower its official discount rate sometime in April also provided support to the market.

But the market as a whole was not very active because of a Thursday decline on Wall Street, in addition to a normal slowdown in trading before the weekend, Takezawa said.

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