Tokyo stocks finish lower Thursday

  • Business
  • Thursday, 17 Mar 2005

TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo stocks finished lower following Wall Street's weakness overnight, compounded by rising global oil prices.  

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

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 selected issues fell 97.68 points, or 0.82 percent, to close at 11,775.50 points. 

The index gained 52.09 points, or 0.44 percent, Wednesday. 

The dollar was trading at 104.26 yen at 3 p.m. (0600 GMT) Thursday, down 0.02 yen from late Wednesday in Tokyo but above the 104.19 yen it bought in New York later that day. 

On the stock market, the Nikkei index lost ground amid concerns about unclear outlook for U.S. stocks and soaring global oil prices, although continued optimism about Japan's economic recovery helped limit the index's downside. 

Stocks started lower after Wall Street tumbled overnight on higher oil prices. 

Crude prices jumped US$1.41 to close at US$56.46 a barrel in New York, a new high, after the U.S. Department of Energy released data showing domestic supplies of gasoline and heating oil fell sharply last week, raising concerns about higher inflation and interest rates. 

Technology blue-chip issues TDK Corp., Sony Corp. and Advantest Corp. fell, as did telecom stocks KDDI Corp. and NTT DoCoMo Inc. Automakers Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. also declined. 

The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 112.03, or 1.04 percent, to 10,633.07. 

The Nasdaq composite index fell 19.23, or 0.94 percent, to 2,015.75. 

In Tokyo, the broader TOPIX, which includes all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section, lost 5.97 points, or 0.50 percent, to finish Thursday's trading at 1,192.28 points. 

The TOPIX rose 5.45 points, or 0.46 percent, the day before. 

In currencies, renewed worries over the deepening U.S. trade deficit, with growing speculation that the world's central banks are diversifying their foreign reserves away from the dollar and into other currencies, kept traders bearish toward the American currency. 

"Nothing has changed as far as the dollar's broad downtrend is concerned,'' said Masamichi Koike, head of the foreign exchange spot trading group at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. 

The dollar weakened overnight in New York after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that its current account deficit widened to a record US$187.9 billion during the fourth quarter of 2004 from an upwardly revised $165.9 billion in the third quarter. 

The euro rose to US$1.3395 Thursday afternoon in Tokyo from US$1.3362 late Wednesday and to 139.66 yen from 139.34 yen. 

The yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond fell to 1.4200 percent from Wednesday's finish of 1.4650 percent. 

Its price rose 0.40 point to 100.70. - AP

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