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Japan Stocks Down at Midday

January 31, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s benchmark stock index was lower at midday Monday following a steep decline Friday on Wall Street. The U.S. dollar rose against the yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 39.70 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,395.08 at the end of the morning session. On Friday, the average closed up 225.06 points, or 1.17 percent.

The dollar was quoted at 106.85 yen, up 1.99 yen from its level of 104.86 yen Friday in Tokyo but below its level of 106.98 yen in New York late Friday.

On the Tokyo stock market, the Nikkei declined after Wall Street investors sold shares Friday on fresh fears of a U.S. interest rate hike.

Many investors are worried that the U.S. Federal Reserve will try to contain inflationary pressures by raising interest rates at its two-day meeting this week, curbing business expansion by making it more expensive to borrow money. There also are worries that the Fed will raise rates again later this year.

Banks, industrial and technology companies posted the largest drops in Tokyo in Monday morning’s session.

The technology-laden Nasdaq composite index on Friday suffered its second-biggest point drop ever as investors dumped shares in usually popular Qualcomm, Intel and Oracle.

Still, buying by individual investors and brokerage dealers will likely offer some support to Tokyo prices, said Hitoshi Ichio, equity strategist at Commerz Securities.

The Dow Jones industrial average on Friday tumbled 289.15 points, or 2.6 percent, to 10,738.87, falling to its lowest level since Nov. 11.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 152.61, or 3.8 percent, to 3,886.95.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all first-section companies closed the morning session 10.91 points higher Monday, or 0.64 percent, at 1,713.52. The TOPIX rose 16.71 points, or 0.99 percent, to 1,702.61 Friday.

In currency trading, the dollar rose against the yen, after falling Friday amid a selloff of the euro.

The dollar had been pulled down against the yen because euro holders first bought dollars, which were then sold to buy yen.

In other currencies, the euro was quoted at 104.56 yen midday Monday in Tokyo, up from 103.34 yen late Friday.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond was unchanged from its Friday finish of 1.6600 percent. Its price remained 100.34.

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