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Dollar Gains Against Yen, Share Prices Lower

March 24, 1989

TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar gained ground today against the Japanese yen, while share prices finished lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, although the index started to make up some of the losses from early trading.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues, which gained 145.42 points Thursday, shed 20.14 points, or 0.06 percent, to finish the week at 31,568.52.

The market’s key index lost 95.23 points during the morning session mainly discouraged by an overnight decline in the Dow Jones industrial average in New York.

But it erased some of the losses later, as buy-orders from speculative investors increased when the index touched it’s low of the day, said Kenji Ishizuka with Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

The dollar’s rise against the yen also discouraged Japanese investors, he said.

Trading became thin as participants stepped off to the sidelines in the absence of market-affecting news and before the weekend, Ishizuka said. Volume traded on the first section was estimated at 650 million shares.

In currency dealings, the dollar closed at 131.27 yen, up 0.39 yen from the previous day’s 130.88-yen finish. The U.S. unit started trading higher at 131.35 yen and moved tightly between 131.27 yen and 131.43 yen.

″Nothing was happening in Tokyo trading today. Hardly anyone was participating from the beginning, mainly because of long weekends on overseas markets for the Easter holidays,″ said a dealer with Daiwa Bank in Tokyo, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The dollar opened higher in Tokyo following its overnight increase in New York, where investors bought the currency after U.S. Federal Reserve Board Gov. H. Robert Heller indicated he backed a stronger dollar, dealers said.

Heller, in a speech Thursday before the Richmond, Va., Society of Financial Analysts, said using a weaker dollar to improve the U.S. trade balance would result in rising import prices, aggravating U.S. inflation problems.

Acknowledging ″much work remains to be done″ on improving trade imbalances, Heller said: ″Under the present circumstances, a dollar depreciation is unwarranted and uncalled for.″

The New York currency market will be open today, but most U.S. banks and other financial institutions will observe a three-day Easter holiday beginning the same day, while European markets will be closed for four days until Tuesday.

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