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Tokyo Stocks Fall in Early Trading

August 4, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar slipped against the yen Tuesday morning after Japanese finance officials warned there may be intervention to halt the yen’s slide. Stocks slipped.

The dollar bought 144.81 yen at midday, down 0.83 yen from late Monday in Tokyo and also below its late New York rate of 145.60 yen.

Finance Minster Kiichi Miyazawa said government intervention in foreign exchange markets is necessary if currency moves are disruptive. Separately, Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the international bureau with the Finance Ministry, warned that Japan is prepared to take action against the ``excessively weak″ yen.

The comments combined to push the dollar down from 146.05 yen, its morning high.

It was Miyazawa’s assertion last week that intervention should occur only when currency moves are disruptive that prompted dollar-buying. But the different emphasis this time, and Miyazawa’s suggestion that he had been misinterpreted previously, helped boost the yen.

On Monday, the dollar climbed to a seven-week high against the yen amid a perception that a turnaround in Japan’s economy could take time.

Stocks continued to fall as a drop in bank issues was weighing on overall market sentiment. But the yen’s recovery trimmed the losses.

The Nikkei Stock Average shed 48.30 points, or 0.30 percent, to 16,116.78 at the end of the morning session. On Monday, the index lost 213.89 points, or 1.31 percent.

Domestic institutional investors were among sellers of bank shares on worries that restructuring of the nation’s banking industry will take a toll on the sector.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section lost 7.28 points, or 0.58 percent, to 1,237.96. It fell 16.80 points, or 1.33 percent, the previous day.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.245 percent from Monday’s finish of 1.225 percent, driving its price down to 111.47 from 111.62.

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