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Tokyo Stock Prices Finish Higher

March 10, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo stocks surged to a seven-month high Wednesday after Sony’s surprise announcement of a broad restructuring plan fueled a rally in high-tech shares. The U.S. dollar was lower against the yen.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average jumped 383.30 points, or 2.54 percent, to close at 15,480.00. On Tuesday, the index climbed 317.65 points, or 2.15 percent.

The dollar bought 121.14 yen at midday, down 0.62 yen from late Tuesday in Tokyo but slightly above its late New York level of 121.00 yen overnight.

On the stock market, prices rose as investors welcomed Sony’s announcement Tuesday that it would undertake aggressive restructuring, including cutting 17,000 jobs over four years and making three majority-owned affiliates into fully-owned subsidiaries.

Sony is seen as a leader among Japanese firms and its move fueled optimism that other Japanese companies would also become more aggressive about restructuring traders said.

Sony’s stock skyrocketed 910 yen ($7.47), or 8.3 percent to 11,850 yen, after a rally of 8.9 percent Tuesday.

``The overall market’s sentiment has improved substantially,″ said Masaru Arai, general manager at Ryoko Securities Co.

In currency trading, the dollar edged lower against the yen following the gain in Japanese stocks, traders said.

But investors avoided major moves ahead of Thursday’s release by the Finance Ministry of a survey on corporate sentiment and private capital expenditure for the October-December quarter.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section rose 24.96 points, or 2.15 percent, to 1,187.47. The TOPIX rose 14.76 points, or 1.29 percent, the previous day.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 131.86 yen, down from 132.28 yen late Tuesday in Tokyo.

The yield on the benchmark No. 203 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.680 percent from Tuesday’s finish of 1.700 percent, driving its price up to 100.96 yen from 100.80 yen.

(may-dj)

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