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Dollar Down, Stocks Up

February 18, 1988

TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar drifted lower against the Japanese yen in trading in Tokyo Thursday, while stock prices rallied.

The dollar’s close matched its opening of 130.00 yen, but it was 0.41 yen lower than Wednesday’s closing of 130.41.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues, a 84.29 point-winner Wednesday, climbed 245.41 points, or 1 percent, to close at 24,675.36.

A currency dealer at a major commercial bank in Tokyo, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the dollar ″was drifting lower, despite no major negative news.″

The dollar’s current level against the yen is within 0.2 yen of the 129.85 yen-level where it was trading early last Friday, before the release of U.S. trade figures which showed a decline in December’s trade deficit.

The modest rally on the stock exchange was fueled by strong interest in Japanese consumption-related issues, said an analyst at Wako Securities, speaking on condition of anonymity.

″What stands out particularly is strong interest in financials, such as banks and trusts, and ... stronger demand for supermarkets and department stores resulting from growing spending for consumption,″ he said.

Despite the dollar’s gradual slide since the release of the trade figures last Friday, Japanese blue chips were generally strong, and some traders said they believed the Ministry of Finance and major Japanese brokerages were cooperating to maintain share prices.

Trading was thin. Volume at the end of the morning session was estimated at 350 million shares, down from 400 million shares during Wednesday’s morning session.

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