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Tokyo Stocks Sharply Lower

March 15, 2001

TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo stocks fell sharply in early trading Thursday, hit by a dramatic downturn on Wall Street. The dollar was higher against the yen.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average was down 381.85 points, or 3.22 percent, to 11,461.74 points at the start of the morning session. On Wednesday, the average closed up 23.89 points, or 0.20 percent.

The dollar bought 120.86 yen, up 0.98 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo but below its late level of 121.11 yen in New York.

On the stock market, the Nikkei index retreated in the first half-hour of trading after worries of a global economic slowdown sent U.S. stocks into a nosedive.

In New York on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed down 317.34, or 3.1 percent, to 9,973.46, finishing below 10,000 for the first time since Oct. 18. The Nasdaq composite index closed down 42.67, or 2.1 percent, to 1,972.10.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 32.51 points, or 2.80 percent, to 1,129.46. The TOPIX closed down 8.61 points, or 0.74 percent, the day before.

In currency dealings, the dollar was higher against the yen, amid concerns that mounting bad loans could hurt profits at Japan’s banks.

International ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday placed 19 major Japanese banks on ``negative review″ over growing worries about the impact of sliding share prices on their business.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 110.00 yen, up from 108.98 yen late Wednesday in Tokyo.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.125 percent from 1.145 percent at the close on Wednesday. Its price rose 0.19 point to 102.47.

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On the Net:

Tokyo Stock Exchange: http://www.tse.or.jp

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