Dollar Up Sharply, Nikkei Edges Up
TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar rose sharply against the Japanese yen today, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s key index recovered from early losses and closed slightly higher.
The dollar closed at 159.25 yen, up 1.10 yen from Tuesday’s close of 158.15 yen. It opened at 158.96 yen following overnight gains in New York and ranged between 158.80 yen and 159.28 yen.
The dollar climbed in Tokyo trading as market players bought the West German mark against the yen, said Akiko Baba, a Bank of Tokyo dealer.
″Dollar buying by trading houses also helped strengthen the dollar,″ she added.
Toru Kanai, a foreign exchange analyst with New Japan Securities Co., said trading was thin ahead of the Golden Week holidays, which start Saturday and go through May 6 for many Japanese companies.
Some $8.68 billion changed hands in spot trading.
On the stock market, the 225-share Nikkei Stock Average climbed 62.98 points, or 0.21 percent, closing at 29,564.36. It gained more than 200 points in early trading, was down 42.15 points at the end of the morning session and then bounced back in the afternoon.
Traders said buying interest was spurred in the afternoon by the announcement of a land development plan by Mitsubishi Mining and Smelting Co.
Japan Airlines Co. was also the focus of attention after announcing a 10- for-1 stock split Tuesday that will bring down the stock’s par value from $3.14 to 31 cents. Trading in JAL shares was halted when the price reached $106, a gain of $12.60 - the maximum gain allowed in one day, said Masashi Wakabayashi, a trader with Yamaichi Securities Co.
The split takes effect Aug. 8.
″Recently, market players are targeting individual issues with good performances,″ he said. ″Even when the index is falling, market players are no longer selling actively.″
The Nikkei’s morning decline was largely due to a decline in futures prices discouraging market players, said Haruhito Ichimura, a trader with Nippon Kangyo Kakumaru Securities Co.
He said many investors were reluctant to buy ahead of the ″Golden Week″ holidays.
They are trying to stay on the safer side, especially due to uncertainties over foreign exchange fluctuations, he said.
In bond dealings, the price of the benchmark No.119 10-year Japanese government bonds was quoted at 85.88 points as of 4 p.m., up slightly from Tuesday’s close of 85.82. Their yield was down to 7.395 percent from 7.405 percent the previous day.