Dollar, Stocks Decline
TOKYO (AP) _ The dollar slipped against the yen today, while share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange declined on further indications of the weak state of Japan’s economy.
The dollar closed at 105.23 yen, down 0.49 yen from Tuesday’s close of 105.72 yen but higher than its overnight New York finish of 104.90 yen.
After opening at 105.13 yen, the dollar ranged between 105.05 yen and 105.50 yen.
The dollar was supported by the German mark’s weakness in early trading, but it drifted lower under selling pressure by players adjusting overbought dollar positions, said Akira Narumi of Sakura Bank.
In New York overnight, the dollar also met selling pressure after a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa and President Clinton yielded little concrete progress toward reducing Japan’s trade surplus with the United States.
″Otherwise, there wasn’t any clear direction in Tokyo either for the yen or the dollar,″ Narumi said.
The yen has gained some 15 percent against the dollar this year on a series of statements by U.S. officials supporting a stronger yen as a way of cutting the United States’ $50 billion annual trade deficit with Japan.
On the stock market, the 225-issue Nikkei average closed at 20,077.41, down 95.31 points, or 0.47 percent. On Tuesday, the index had gained 78.61 points, or 0.39 percent.
The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was down 5.21 points, or 0.32 percent, to 16,178.86. It had climbed 2.71 points, or 0.16 percent, on Tuesday.
The Nikkei index fell below 20,000 points in early trading, but rebounded somewhat later, traders said.
Investors were discouraged by sluggish economic indicators announced by the government in the morning, said Shinji Sekiguchi, a trader with Yamaichi Securities Co.
The Economic Planning Agency reported that Japan’s July index of leading indicators stood at 40.0, below the boom-or-bust borderline of 50 for the third month in a row.
Reports about possible idling of workers by a major steel maker, as well as the sharper-than-expected downward revision of the first-half fiscal earnings forecast by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and its group companies late Tuesday, also damped market sentiment, traders said.
The price of the benchmark No. 145 10-year Japanese government bonds stood at 110.96 yen, down 0.14 yen from Tuesday’s close. Its yield rose to 3.785 percent from 3.755 percent.