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Tokyo Stocks Higher at Midday

March 23, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar edged higher against the yen Thursday morning, buoyed by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision earlier this week to boost interest rates. The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main index gained.

The dollar bought 107.54 yen, up 0.90 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo and also above its late New York level of 106.90 yen.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 23.43 points, or 0.12 percent, to 19,757.02 at the end of the morning session. On Wednesday, the average closed up 131.23 points, or 0.67 percent.

In currency dealings, the dollar initially rose on buy orders from foreign players out of Hong Kong, with Japanese life insurers reportedly joining a dollar-buying spree later.

The greenback has attracted investor demand since the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point on Tuesday.

Higher interest rates increase the value of U.S. fixed assets such as bonds, making them more attractive to foreign investors and thereby strengthening the nation’s currency.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 103.22 yen, up from 102.36 yen late Tuesday in Tokyo.

On the stock market, traders said the Nikkei was briefly lower on profit-taking early in the session, but moved into positive territory as investors bought issues at dips.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 40.64 points to 10,866.70 at Wednesday’s close.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 5.53 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,652.79. The TOPIX closed down 14.23 points, or 0.85 percent, the day before.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond stood at 1.8450 percent, unchanged from Wednesday’s finish. Its price remained unchanged at 100.47.

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