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Tokyo Stocks Close Sharply Lower

April 16, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar rose against the yen Thursday afternoon after Group of Seven talks in Washington concluded with no commitment to coordinate efforts to support the yen. Tokyo stocks closed sharply lower.

The dollar bought 131.32 yen at midafternoon, up 2.04 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo and also above its late New York level of 129.36 yen overnight.

A joint communique issued by G-7 finance ministers after talks Wednesday made no reference to direct intervention to prop up Japan’s currency, bolstering interest in the dollar, traders said.

Last week, the Bank of Japan intervened aggressively to support the yen.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, share prices closed sharply lower after the G-7 failed to unveil a strong statement pressuring Japan to stimulate domestic demand and strengthen the yen.

The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues fell 415.53 points, or 2.55 percent, to close at 15,883.77 points. On Wednesday, the average gained 21.98 points, or 0.14 percent.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section lost 24.11 points, or 1.94 percent, to finish at 1,217.34. The TOPIX closed down 1.15 points, or 0.09 percent, the day before.

The continued rise of the dollar against the yen also pushed Japanese stocks lower. A strengthening dollar often causes overseas investors to sell Japanese stocks as it reduces the dollar-denominated value of their shares.

Meanwhile, the yield on the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.535 percent from Wednesday’s finish of 1.525 percent, driving its price down to 109.75 yen from 109.83 yen.

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