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Tokyo Stocks Higher at Midday

December 1, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar slipped against the yen Wednesday morning as expectations Japan’s economy is mildly recovering boosted demand for yen. Tokyo share prices were higher.

The dollar bought 102.20 yen in late morning, down 0.22 yen from late Tuesday in Tokyo but higher than its late New York level of 101.88 yen. During Tuesday’s Asian trading, the dollar fell to 101.35 yen, sliding past the 4-year low of 101.50 yen set on Friday, before recovering.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 7.11 points, or 0.04 percent, to 18,565.34 at the end of the morning session. On Tuesday, the average closed down 292.04 points, or 1.55 percent.

In currency dealings, the dollar remained above its late New York level as Japan’s top central bank official called for stabilization of foreign exchange rates.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaru Hayami issued a statement Wednesday morning saying that the central bank strongly hopes for an early stabilization of foreign exchange rates and declaring that the central bank supports Japan’s intervention policy.

On Tuesday, the bank intervened to stem the yen’s surge for the second consecutive day in Tokyo, but the action was less effective.

The Japanese currency has drawn investor interest recently on expectations Japan’s economy is steadily recovering.

But Japanese officials are worried that a strong yen might derail the nation’s recovery from a recession by making exports more expensive in overseas markets.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 103.15 yen, up from 103.08 yen late Tuesday in Tokyo.

On the stock market, the Nikkei index was slightly lower early in the session but later moved into positive territory on buying of domestic demand-related issues.

``There is strong buy-sentiment for cheaper issues mainly from domestic financial institutions,″ said Kunihiro Hatae, general manager at Tokyo Securities’ stock division.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 8.34 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,633.19 points. The TOPIX closed down 44.67 points, or 2.65 percent, the day before.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.8100 percent from Tuesday’s finish of 1.8200 percent. Its price rose 0.09 point to 100.76.

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