Tokyo stocks finish higher Friday


TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo stocks finished higher Friday on gains by technology blue chips and banking issues. 

The U.S. dollar was higher against the Japanese yen and the euro. 

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues gained 58.98 points, or 0.50 percent, to close at 11,923.89 points. 

The index lost 101.78 points, or 0.85 percent, on Thursday. 

The dollar was trading at 104.11 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Friday, up 0.23 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo and also above the 104.04 yen it bought in New York later that day. 

Technology stocks were given a boost after U.S. microprocessor maker Intel reported a slight upgrade of revenue and profit margin overnight. 

On the stock market, semiconductor testing device maker Advantest Corp. and other tech stocks Kyocera Corp. Sony Corp. and TDK Corp. rose. 

Banks Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc. also advanced.  

Real estate issues Mitsui Fudosan Co. and Mitsubishi Estate Co. finished higher. 

In New York Thursday, stocks were mixed as investors abandoned riskier stocks for safer blue-chip companies, while a sharp drop in oil prices helped limit losses. 

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.89, or 0.42 percent, to 10,851.51.  

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 1.57, or 0.08 percent, to 2,059.72. 

In Tokyo, the broader TOPIX, which includes all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section, rose 4.57 points, or 0.38 percent, to finish Friday's trading at 1,200.00 points. 

The TOPIX shed 5.20 points, or 0.43 percent, the day before. 

In currencies trading, the dollar edged higher against the yen in Asia Friday, as traders covered short positions on the growing view that recent dollar selling on expectations of a widening U.S. trade deficit may have been overdone. 

Behind the dollar's recovery was a belief that the U.S. trade data for January due out in Washington later Friday won't trigger a dollar slide unless the deficit is much wider than the consensus forecast for US$56.2 billion, traders said.  

The deficit for December stood at US$56.4 billion. 

The weak-dollar mood also faded somewhat after the U.S. currency held up despite U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's remarks in a speech overnight in New York warning that foreigners, including foreign central banks, may soon tire of buying U.S. assets and financing the current account deficit, traders said. 

"Greenspan's remarks were quite bearish for the dollar but the U.S. unit held firm,'' suggesting its downside risks may be limited, said Tetsu Aikawa, vice president of foreign exchange trading at UFJ Bank. 

The euro fell to US$1.3426 Friday afternoon in Tokyo from US$1.3437 late Thursday. Against the Japanese currency, the 12-nation European currency rose to 139.84 yen from 139.75 yen. 

The yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond was up at 1.4800 percent from Thursday's finish of 1.4700 percent. Its price dipped 0.09 to 100.17 points. - AP 

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