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Tokyo Stocks Down at Midday

September 4, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar fell against the yen Friday morning after senior finance ministry officials hinted Japan may intervene to further strengthen its currency. Tokyo stocks fell.

The dollar bought 134.31 yen in morning trading, down 1.83 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo and also below its level of 134.70 yen in New York.

The U.S. currency weakened after the Japan’s vice finance minister for international affairs, Eisuke Sakakibara, hinted early Friday that Japan may intervene in currency markets to support the yen.

He was joined by Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the ministry’s international bureau, who warned that the yen’s rise against the dollar could pick up pace.

On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, shares fell in line with a decline on Wall Street Thursday and amid worries about the outlook for Japanese corporate profits.

The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average lost 163.04 points, or 1.14 percent, to close the morning session at 14,098.20. On Thursday, the index fell 115.38 points, or 0.80 percent.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section of the exchange dropped 17.11 points, or 1.54 percent, to 1,096.66. The TOPIX declined 4.99 points, or 0.45 percent, the previous day.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from Wednesday’s 1.065 percent. Its price fell to 112.65, down from 112.66.

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