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Stocks Fall in Early Tokyo Trading

February 17, 1998

TOKYO (AP) _ The U.S. dollar edged higher against the yen early Tuesday and Tokyo stock prices fell as pessimism grew over Japan’s upcoming economic stimulus package.

The dollar bought 126.16 yen in early morning, up 0.01 yen from late Monday in Tokyo at 126.15 yen. U.S. financial markets were closed Monday for a national holiday. It was traded at 126.04 yen late Monday in London, up from 125.24 yen on late Friday.

The dollar retained its strength against the yen as market players increasingly predict that new stimulus measures to be unveiled on Friday will be insufficient to give the economy a significant boost.

In a policy speech to Parliament Tuesday, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto reiterated his commitment to reducing government spending.

Trades remained in a narrow range prior to the weekend meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrial nations in London, traders said.

On the stock market, jitters over the economic package sent share prices tumbling.

The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 181.41 points, or 1.08 percent, to 16,594.11 points in the first 30 minutes of trading. On Monday, the average shed 15.49 points, or 0.09 percent.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 10.98 points, or 0.86 percent, to 1,262.45. The TOPIX closed down 7.11 points, or 0.56 percent, the day before.

The yield on the benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond stood at 1.690 percent, unchanged from Monday’s finish. Its price remained unchanged at 108.80 yen.

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