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Tokyo Stocks Up in Early Trading

December 25, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar fell against the yen early Friday amid light, holiday-thinned trading. Japanese share prices moved higher after a loss the previous day.

The dollar bought 116.00 yen in early trading, down 0.12 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo and also below its late New York level of 116.29 yen overnight.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 139.22 points, or 1.01 percent, to 13,845.95 points in the first 30 minutes of trading. On Thursday, the average closed down 72.72 points, or 0.53 percent.

In currency dealings, trades remained in a narrow range with many players taking off for Christmas.

Traders reacted little to a slew of negative economic data released earlier in the day, as the poor state of Japan’s economy had already been factored in.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry said Japan’s industrial output fell 2.0 percent in November from October, while large store retail sales for the same month fell 1.5 percent from a year ago.

On the stock market, share prices opened higher in thin trading as an early rise in bond prices eased investor concerns over the recent weakness in the credit market.

``There is some buying from pension funds because many stocks are now very cheap with the Nikkei average below 14,000 points,″ said Kunihiro Hatae, general manager of the stock division at Tokyo Securities.

But trading was conducted mostly by dealers closing out positions as Friday is the last day to trade stocks for delivery during 1998. Activity also remains sparse because of the Christmas holiday in many countries overseas.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was up 7.51 points, or 0.70 percent, to 1,081.69. The TOPIX closed down 8.28 points, or 0.76 percent, the day before.

Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark No. 203 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.830 percent from Thursday’s finish of 1.885 percent, driving its price up to 99.75 yen from 99.31 yen.

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