Share Prices Close Lower, Dollar Up Slightly
TOKYO (AP) _ Share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell through the 17,000 level in thin trading today and stayed down all day to end lower. The dollar closed slightly higher against the yen.
The Nikkei Stock Average, which tracks 225 key issues, lost 161.78 points, or 0.95 percent, to close at 16,869.81. On Thursday, the Nikkei fell 33.61 points, or 0.20 percent, closing at 17,031.59 points.
Traders said buying sentiment remained subdued as questioning in Parliament focused on a payoff scandal wracking the governing party, threatening to delay passage of a supplementary budget to finance measures to boost the economy. Traders were also holding back ahead of the weekend.
″It’s going to be pretty dull for a while,″ said Takatoshi Okuyama, a stock analyst at Daiwa Securities.
He said a slew of poor corporate earnings reports for the first half of the fiscal year which ended in September was also discouraging buying. The Nikkei would probably stay in a narrow range in coming sessions, he said.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section closed at 1,275.96 points, down 12.41 points, down 0.96 percent. The TOPIX lost 5.48 points or 0.42 percent on Thursday.
Volume on the first section remained anemic at an estimated 190 million shares, almost unchanged from 186.11 million shares Thursday. Retreating issues strongly outnumbered advancing issues 706 to 206, while 163 were unchanged.
Foreign exchange dealings were also lackluster. The dollar closed at 122.95 yen, just above its open at 122.90 yen and 0.27 yen higher than its previous close in Tokyo. Trades ranged between 122.85 yen and 123.03 yen.
Currency dealers said there was little action ahead of the release of U.S. unemployment figures later today. Players also were waiting to see who President-elect Clinton would appoint to financial posts.
Spot trading volume stood at $3.367 billion, compared with $4.150 billion Thursday.
The benchmark No. 145 10-year Japanese government bonds closed at 105.05 points, down from Thursday’s 105.18-point finish. Their yield rose to 4.720 percent from 4.700 percent.