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Japan Stocks Surge, Dollar Lower

January 16, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Stocks surged Friday afternoon on expectations that the Japanese government will come up with further measures to stimulate the nation’s economy. The dollar was lower against the yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average jumped 782.32 points, or 5.17 percent, to 15,904.30. On Wednesday, the index had gained 366.04 points, or 2.48 percent.

Japanese financial markets were closed Thursday for a national holiday.

Stocks rallied almost across the board, coupled with active buying of banking and steel issues by foreign investors. At one point Friday the index had climbed over 900 points.

Koji Omi, chief of the Economic Planning Agency, told a regular news conference that the government is studying additional economic stimulus measures, though he offered no details.

On Thursday, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will outline as early as late March a set of new steps, including advancing some public works projects.

The government has decided to make income tax cuts of $15.5 billion, but many analysts and economists have said more stimulus measures will be needed to shore up Japan’s sagging economy.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was up 44.48 points, or 3.87 percent, to 1,193.59. The TOPIX rose 27.49 points, or 2.45 percent, Wednesday.

On the foreign exchange market, Omi’s remarks prompted yen-buying early in the session. But the buying didn’t last.

The dollar was traded at 130.14 yen at early afternoon, down 0.74 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo. The dollar settled at 129.81 yen in New York.

The yield on the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.635 percent from Tuesday’s finish of 1.600 percent, driving its price down to 109.29 from 109.55.

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