Stocks, Dollar Lower
TOKYO (AP) _ The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main index declined today, while the dollar slipped slightly against the Japanese yen.
The dollar closed at 132.80 yen, down 0.05 yen from Wednesday’s close of 132.85 yen. It opened at 133.03 yen, but traders said it started to fall following hints of intervention by the Bank of Japan. It ranged between 132.75 yen and 133.20 yen.
Traders said the central bank had been calling to inquire about rates, a tactic that implies intervention and often is used to indirectly discourage dollar-buying.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average, an 8.07-point gainer the previous day, shed 192.51 points, or 0.58 percent, closing at 33,063.94.
Dealers said investors held back, awaiting the announcement of U.S. major economic indicators and watching whether the dollar would remain stable.
On Friday, Washington is to announce U.S. trade figures for February and the wholesale price index for March.
Nomura Securities analyst Yoshiro Inouye said investors also were discouraged by news reports that Saudi Arabia has decided to cut crude oil shipments to Japan in May by 40 percent from normal levels.
A feeling of political instability still was bothering investors, he added.
Volume traded on the first section was estimated at 850 million shares, down from Wednesday’s 1 billion.
In currency dealings, the dollar moved little while the market awaited Friday’s announcement of the U.S. economic indicators, traders said.
After the Bank of Japan’s rate checking, most participants withdrew to the sidelines, fearing possible central bank intervention if the dollar rose above 133 yen, said a dealer with the Bank of Tokyo, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In early April, the central bank sold dollars to support the yen when the U.S. currency reached the 133.50-yen level.