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Japan Stocks Close Higher

February 2, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo’s benchmark stock index rose Monday on growing hopes for additional government measures to support the lagging economy. The U.S. dollar traded lower against the Japanese yen.

The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues rose 148.35 points, or 0.89 percent, to 16,776.82 by the close of trading Monday. On Friday, the index lost 386.12 points, or 2.27 percent.

Traders said the market rose after influential ruling party politicians said over the weekend that Japan should spend more in the coming year to boost growth.

Liberal Democratic Party politician Hiromu Nonaka said Saturday that the government should aid the economy by spending an extra $47.4 billion on information-related services in the fiscal year beginning April 1.

Koichi Kato, the secretary-general of the LDP, said Sunday that the party may draft an additional, pump-priming budget soon.

The market slipped from early highs as some investors used the morning rally as an opportunity to take profits.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section fell 5.42 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,262.09. The TOPIX sank 17.08 points, or 1.33 percent, on Friday.

Growing expectations for the stimulus measures sent the dollar lower as investors sold it for the yen, traders said.

The currency bought 126.39 yen, down 0.95 yen from its level of 127.34 yen late Friday in Tokyo and also below its New York level of 126.85 yen late Friday.

But the dollar’s fall was limited because Japanese importers stepped in to buy the U.S. currency whenever it weakened.

The yield on the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.790 percent from 1.765 percent Friday, driving its price down to 108.11 yen from 108.29 yen.

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