Dollar Firms, Share Prices Lower
TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar firmed against the yen Monday partly because of news that the U.S. shot down an Iraqi jet over southern Iraq. Share prices finished lower in thin trading.
The dollar closed at 123.93 yen, up 0.28 yen from Friday’s close and higher than Thursday’s New York trading at 123.90 yen. After opening at 123.95 yen, it ranged between 123.90 yen and 124.10 yen.
Financial markets were closed in New York Friday for Christmas.
Shinichiro Ohashi, an exchange dealer with Tokai Bank, said the dollar advanced against major currencies, especially in trading with the German mark.
U.S. F-16 jets shot down an Iraqi fighter aircraft when two Iraqi warplanes turned to confront them in U.N.-restricted airspace over southern Iraq Sunday, the Pentagon said.
The dollar is often considered as a safe haven at times of international unrest.
Ohashi said, however, the dollar’s rise will be limited because of selling pressure by foreign investors trying to take profits and by buying from domestic importing firms.
On the stock market, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 368.42 points, or 2.10 percent, closing at 17,188.62. On Friday, the average fell 91.81 points, or 0.52 percent.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section, which lost 8.34 points Friday, fell another 19.98 points, or 1.49 percent, to 1,321.84.
Trading remained thin with turnover on the first section estimated at 100 million shares, the lowest for a full-day session this year. Friday’s turnover totaled 179 million shares.
Dealers said the market remained almost in a holiday mood as some players began taking a New Year vacation.
The price of the benchmark No. 145 10-year Japanese government bonds stood at 106.32 points, up from Friday’s 106.29-point finish. Their yield fell to 4.525 percent from 4.530 percent.