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Stocks Rise a Bit in Japan

February 10, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar slipped against the yen Tuesday morning as lingering expectations for additional economic stimulus measures prompted yen-buying. Stock prices advanced moderately.

The dollar bought 123.81 yen in late morning, down 0.91 yen from late Monday and also below its rate New York rate of 124.04 yen.

``The market expectations for the stimulus package still remain very strong,″ said Hirokazu Note, senior trader at Sumitomo Bank. ``That caused sporadic sizable dollar-selling against the yen.″

Traders said Finance Minister Hikaru Masunaga’s remarks that Japan’s financial system is no longer ``very unstable″ also provided support to the yen. Matsunaga made his remarks during a Parliament session Tuesday morning.

Japan’s upper house is currently debating a pair of bills earmarking 30 trillion yen ($240 billion) designed to protect depositors and replenish banks with badly needed capital. The lower house passed the two bills on Saturday.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed at 17,205.09 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Tuesday, up 0.09 points, or 0.001 percent from Monday. On Monday, the average gained 164.94 points, or 0.97 percent.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section added 5.22 points, or 0.40 percent, to 1,300.70. The TOPIX closed up 17.37 points, or 1.34 percent, on Monday.

Share prices moved in a narrow range as investors remain reluctant to buy stocks ahead of the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrial nations starting Feb. 21 in London.

Also supporting the stock market were local news reports that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to earmark taxpayer funds to bolster Japan’s moribund property market.

The yield on the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.745 percent from Monday’s finish of 1.735 percent, driving its price down to 108.41 from 108.49.

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