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Tokyo Stock Prices Close Lower

May 19, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Further weakness in Wall Street’s technology-rich Nasdaq index overnight pushed Tokyo stocks lower Friday. The U.S. dollar fell against the yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 173.46 points, or 1.03 percent, to close at 16,858.17. On Thursday, the average closed down 372.40 points, or 2.14 percent.

The dollar bought 108.52 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Friday, down 0.64 yen from its level of 109.16 yen late Thursday in Tokyo and below its late New York level of 108.70 yen overnight.

On the stock market, shares were hit after the Nasdaq composite index lost 106.25 points to 3,538.71 at Thursday’s close. The Dow Jones industrial average, however, gained 7.54 points to close at 10,777.28.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised short-term U.S. interest rates a half percentage point, the sixth such hike since last June, in an effort to slow the supercharged economy.

Higher interest rates are often considered a negative factor in stock markets as they threaten corporate profits by making it more expensive to borrow money.

Traders in Tokyo said high technology issues would continue to go through a correction phase, further pushing down the Nikkei index.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile phone maker, dropped 230,000 yen (dlrs 2,119) to 3.12 million yen (dlrs 28,750). Sony fell 660 yen (dlrs 6.08) to 10,830 yen (dlrs 99.80), and Toyota Motor declined 100 yen (dlrs 0.92) to 5,240 yen (dlrs 48.29).

Overall, 627 issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section rose, 619 declined and 147 closed unchanged from Thursday.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section fell 27.77 points, or 1.73 percent, to close at 1,578.37. The TOPIX closed down 30.31 points, or 1.85 percent, the day before.

In currency dealings, the dollar followed through on its overnight weakness in New York. Traders said Japanese investors refrained from buying dollars to purchase U.S. stocks amid concern over Wall Street’s recent losses.

``Japanese investors are very cautious about putting new money into the U.S. They are concerned the Fed is becoming too aggressive with rate hikes,″ said Ken Landon, senior currency strategist at Deutsche Bank, explaining the yen’s resilience.

Overall, though, trading in Tokyo was lackluster due to a lack of major market-moving news, traders said.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 96.64 yen, down from 97.42 yen late Thursday in Tokyo.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from Thursday at 1.7250 percent. Its price was 100.64, also unchanged.

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