Tokyo stocks finish lower on Monday


TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo stocks finished lower Monday as investors sold technology and auto issues after Wall Street's weak finish last week.  

The U.S. dollar rose against the Japanese yen but was lower versus the euro. 

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues slipped 73.64 points, or 0.62 percent, to close at 11,850.25 points. 

The index rose 58.98 points, or 0.50 percent, on Friday. 

The dollar was trading at 104.55 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Monday, up 0.44 yen from late Friday in Tokyo and also above the 103.88 yen it bought in New York later that day. 

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index started Monday's trading higher after the government announced that Japan's economy eked out 0.1 percent growth during the October-December quarter, an upward revision of earlier data showing a contraction. 

The government had said initially that Japan's gross domestic product - the value of goods and services a nation produces - shrank 0.1 percent during the three-month period from the previous quarter. 

The index later fell back as selling in technology and auto issues on Wall Street's weaker finish Friday chipped away initial gains. 

Technology issues Advantest Corp. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. fell, as did with other blue-chip stocks Canon Inc., Kyocera Corp. and TDK Corp. Automakers Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. also declined, along with telecoms KDDI Corp. and NTT Corp. 

The broader TOPIX, which includes all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section, dipped 4.55 points, or 0.38 percent, to finish Monday's trading at 1,195.45. 

The TOPIX added 4.57 points, or 0.38 percent, to end at 1,200.00 on Friday. 

In New York Friday, stocks declined in response to a ballooning U.S. trade deficit, which fueled worries over the possibility of inflation. 

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit widened to US$58.3 billion in January, the second highest level after November's record reading. 

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 77.15 points, or 0.71 percent, to 10,774.36. 

The Nasdaq composite index lost 18.12 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,041.60.In currency trading, the yen fell against the dollar and the euro in Asia Monday despite an upward revision to Japan's GDP data. 

As economists and currency players had expected a downward revision, players initially reacted to the news by buying the Japanese currency against other major currencies, pushing the dollar down two-tenths of a yen to as low as 103.71 yen and the euro down to 139.71 yen. 

But bank and fund traders soon reversed course, judging on a second look that the economic picture may not be as rosy as the data suggest, dealers said. 

"The contents of the data, combined with recent poor performance in machinery orders, suggest that Japan may remain in a soft spot a bit longer'' this year, said Kikuko Takeda, a currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. 

The euro rose to US$1.3435 Monday afternoon in Tokyo from US$1.3427 late Friday, and to 140.50 yen from 139.80 yen. 

The yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond rose to 1.5000 percent from Friday's finish of 1.4800 percent. 

Its price dipped 0.17 to 100.00 points. - AP

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