%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo stocks rallied to a strong finish Thursday after dipping in early trading after an overnight retreat on Wall Street. The U.S. dollar was lower against the yen.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed up 153.51 points, or 1.34 percent, to 11,568.82. On Wednesday, the average fell 192.02 points, or 1.65 percent.

The dollar bought 128.78 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT), down 0.50 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo and also below its late New York level of 129.45 yen overnight.

On the stock market, the Nikkei initially turned bearish amid Wall Street's slide the previous day. Among morning losers were major auto issues and technology stocks.

But bargain hunting investors later sent the index into positive territory.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 130.50 to 10,501.85 at Wednesday's finish. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 35.09 to 1,862.03.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished up 8.18 points, or 0.76 percent, to 1,083.88 on Thursday. The TOPIX lost 22.86 points, or 2.08 percent, the day before.

In currencies, the dollar retreated in line with overnight news in New York, where fresh data showing weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales helped cap gains against other currencies.

Retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February after a revised 0.3 percent fall in January, the Commerce Department said. January's performance had originally been estimated as a 0.2 percent decline.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 113.04 yen, down from 113.14 yen late Wednesday in Tokyo.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.4250 percent from Wednesday's finish of 1.4450 percent. Its price rose 0.17 point to 100.65.

___

On the Net:

Japan's Tokyo Stock Exchange: http://www.tse.or.jp