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Stocks, dollar lower

December 17, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ Bargain-hunting narrowed some earlier losses on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the end of trading Tuesday morning. The dollar edged lower against the yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average, which was down nearly 190 points early in the session, wound up the morning at 20,323.52 points, down 98.52 points, or 0.48 percent.

On Monday, the index had gained 80.65 points, or 0.40 percent.

Michio Sugita, chief of stock trading at Deutsche Bank Capital Markets, said bargain-hunting in banking and steel issues helped the stock market recover some lost ground.

The market started moderately lower Tuesday as sentiment was hurt by a 36.52-point fall in the Dow Jones industrial average on Wall Street.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section shed 2.25 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,509.73. The TOPIX had risen 10.03 points, or 0.67 percent Monday.

In currency dealings, the dollar was changing hands at 113.77 yen, down 0.07 yen from its late Monday level in Tokyo and also below its late New York level of 113.90 yen overnight.

In New York overnight, the yen weakened on the continued outflow of investment money from Japan, reflecting the search for higher-yielding opportunities. Japan is maintaining its record-low interest rates as the economy remains sluggish.

A lack of major market-moving news held the dollar in a narrow range in Tokyo, traders said.

The benchmark No. 182 10-year Japanese government bond was quoted at 104.29 yen, down from Monday’s finish of 104.10 yen. Its yield rose to 2.405 percent from 2.430 percent.

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