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Dollar slips, Tokyo stocks mixed

July 31, 1997

TOKYO (AP) _ Stocks finished mixed today on the Tokyo Stock Exchange while the dollar slipped against the yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average rose 118.61 points, or 0.59 percent, closing at 20,331.43. It had fallen 172.52 points Tuesday and 189.92 points on Wednesday.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was up 7.12 points, or 0.46 percent, to 1,544.04. It had fallen 11.96 points on Wednesday.

But declining issues outnumbered advances 660 to 436, with 128 issues unchanged. An estimated 430 million shares changed hands on the first section, up from Wednesday’s 364 million.

Dealers said penalties announced Wednesday by the Finance Ministry for Nomura Securities, Japan’s biggest brokerage, and Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank in the payoff scandal were within expectations.

Nomura shares closed 84 cents higher today at $14.20, while Dai-Ichi Kangyo finished down 8 cents at $12.40.

Active buying of high-technology related issues, including NEC and Matsushita Electric Industrial, toward the close offset selling in the construction sector that followed the failure of a medium-size Japanese company.

Tada Corp. became only the second listed Japanese general contractor to fail since World War II. The company said it could no longer cope with a drop in the value of its commercial properties.

Other Japanese construction companies also are suffering from huge non-performing debts, and many Japanese financial institutions are making efforts to write off bad loans.

In late afternoon, the dollar was changing hands at 117.74 yen, down 0.92 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo and also below its late New York level of 118.57 yen. It ranged between 117.58 yen and 118.48 yen in today’s trading.

Over the five previous trading days in Tokyo, the dollar had gained a total of 3.24 yen.

Traders said the dollar fell below 118 yen early in the session.

The dollar was also hurt later by comments by an official of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, who suggested that it should not rise much higher than its current level.

Takeo Tominaga, vice chairman of the association, said at a press luncheon that an ideal range for the dollar was between 110 yen and 120 yen.

A strong dollar makes Japan’s exports cheaper and thus more competitive abroad, but Japanese officials are worried that rising exports will rekindle trade friction with the United States.

The yield on the No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 2.110 percent from 2.125 percent, driving its price up to 106.17 from 106.06 late Wednesday.

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