TOKYO (AP) _ The chief index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rebounded Wednesday morning as investors went bargain hunting after heavy losses since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. dollar slipped against the Japanese yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average gained 359.08 points, or 1.29 percent, ending the early session at 28,012.15.

Masashi Wakabayashi, a trader with Yamaichi Securities Co., said market players began to pick up underpriced issues following the recent drops and adjusted their oversold positions.

He said Wednesday's earlier gains in the futures market encouraged investors buying in the spot market. He said, however, very few people participated in the market.

Other traders said stability in the bond market also contributed to the Nikkei's gains Tuesday.

Since last Thursday, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the index has dropped 3,184.92 points, or 11.5 percent, topped by Tuesday's 946.46-point loss. The index's 27,653.07-point close Tuesday was the lowest level since Oct. 26, 1988, when the index fell to 27,620.60.

Already vulnerable due to higher interest rates, the index has now lost 5,204.88 points since July 20 in 12 losses against one gain in the last 13 trading days.

The dollar ended the morning session at 150.43 yen. It opened at 150.63 yen, up 0.03 yen from Tuesday's close. The dollar ranged between 149.85 yen and 150.63 yen during morning trading.

The dollar inched downward against the yen after opening higher. The yen strengthened against major European currencies as a result of a technical correction, dealers said.

They said the market is basically bearish toward the U.S. unit but many market players are focusing less on the dollar as a safe haven.

In the bond market, the yield of the benchmark No. 119 10-year Japanese government bond slipped to 7.97 percent from Tuesday's close of 8.105 percent. Its price rose to 83.56 points from 82.98 points.