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Japanese Stocks Down at Midday

April 14, 1999

TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar slid against the yen Wednesday morning as overseas investors bought the Japanese currency. Tokyo share prices dropped, pushed down by falling high technology issues.

The dollar bought 119.44 yen at late morning, down 0.92 yen from late Tuesday in Tokyo and also below its level of 119.83 yen in New York.

The Nikkei Stock Average fell 231.26 points, or 1.38 percent, to 16,483.90 at the end of the morning session. On Tuesday, the index gained 207.76 points, or 1.26 percent.

In currency dealings, the yen was supported by domestic newspaper reports that Japan’s major life insurers will decrease their foreign-currency-denominated bond purchases, traders said.

The Nihon Keizai business daily said Wednesday that Japan’s five major life insurers will sharply reduce or suspend altogether purchases of foreign currency-denominated bonds under the current fiscal year as they shift their investment focus to domestic assets.

Japan’s fiscal year began on April 1.

In other currencies, the euro was traded at 128.72 yen, down from 130.10 yen late Tuesday in Tokyo.

On the stock market, share prices turned lower amid profit-taking in high-technology issues.

The yen’s renewed strength against the dollar also made investors bearish. A higher yen tends to make Japanese exports more expensive abroad and thus less competitive.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.50 points to an all-time high of 10,395.01 Tuesday. It was the Dow’s second record high in as many days.

The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the exchange’s first section was down 11.79 points, or 0.89 percent, to 1,319.95. The TOPIX gained 15.54 points, or 1.18 percent, the previous day.

The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond rose to 1.605 percent from Tuesday’s finish of 1.600 percent, driving its price down to 101.70 yen from 101.74 yen.

Update hourly