Shares, Dollar up in Tokyo
TOKYO (AP) _ Tokyo share prices rebounded sharply today on hopes for a quick allied victory in the Persian Gulf War, and the dollar rose against the Japanese yen.
The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues gained 559.95 points, or 2.16 percent, closing at 26,462.76. Last Friday, the index lost 121.56 points, or 0.47 percent.
Volume on the first section totaled 680 million shares, up from last Friday’s 650 million shares.
The market’s main barometer was down some 20 points at one point in early trading, but the swift offensive launched by the allies against Iraq on Sunday encouraged buying, stock traders said.
″The market is getting news so far that the ground war has proceeded advantageously to the allied forces, indicating an early solution″ to the Gulf War, said Akira Shimoda, an analyst with Yamaichi Securities.
Masahiko Nozaki, an analyst with Wako Securities, said many investors at first traded hesitantly while awaiting more news on the ground war.
Other dealers said the index rose further in the afternoon on buying by institutional and individual investors as well as arbitrage buying, mainly by foreign securities companies.
Traders said stable oil prices have been supporting the stock market.
The benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil for April delivery was traded at $16.10-$16.30 a barrel at mid-afternoon, about 30 cents lower than closing levels in New York on Friday.
Japan depends almost entirely on imports for its oil, with some 70 percent coming from the Middle East.
The dollar closed at 132.13 yen, up 1.28 yen from last Friday’s close of 130.85 yen. After opening at 132.40 yen, it ranged between 132.10 yen and 132.47 yen.
Some $8.24 billion changed hands in spot trading, up from last Friday’s $7.87 billion.
Currency dealers noted that the dollar had jumped to 132.80 yen in the Sydney market, which opened earlier than Tokyo’s. Traders there bought the dollar on optimism about the war and the U.S. economy, they said.
″The dollar remains relatively strong, though it moved in a narrow 132.10-.25 yen range in the afternoon,″ said Hiroshi Morioka, a dealer with the Bank of Tokyo.
″The dominating view is that the U.S.-led allied forces will successfully end the Gulf War soon,″ said Yukio Matsunaga, a dealer with the Industrial Bank of Japan.
Matsunaga said the dollar could reach 134 yen soon unless there is bad news from the gulf, such as the use of chemical weapons by Iraq or the destruction of oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.
In bond dealings, the price of the benchmark No. 129 10-year Japanese government bonds rose to 100.57 points as of 5 p.m. from last Friday’s 100.51- point close. Their yield fell to 6.300 percent from 6.310 percent.