Originally created 04/28/04

Tokyo stocks fall on profit taking



TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks fell Tuesday, a day after the market's benchmark index reached a 32-month high. The U.S. dollar was lower against the Japanese yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues fell 122.42 points, or 1.01 percent, to finish trading at 12,041.47. On Monday, the index gained 43.23 points, or 0.36 percent, to finish at the highest level since the summer of 2001.

The dollar traded at 108.42 yen by late afternoon Tuesday, down 0.60 yen from 109.02 yen Monday and also below the 108.67 yen it bought in New York. It traded in a narrow range between 108.40 yen and 108.80 yen Tuesday in Tokyo.

On the stock market, the Nikkei was hit by profit-taking. Tech stalwarts Sony, Hitachi, NEC, Matsushita Electric and Sharp fell. Automakers Nissan and Honda and banks UFJ, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial were also lower.

Caution prevailed as investors awaited earnings later Tuesday from big corporate names, including Sony, Toshiba and Honda, said Kentaro Nakajo, a manager at Mitsubishi Securities' retail division.

Traders were also wary of driving the index too high following its surge to 12,163.89 points - its highest level since closing at 12,319.46 on Aug. 7, 2001. Those gains were due to data suggesting the world's second-largest economy is getting on track to recovery.

After trading ended in Tokyo, Sony said net profit fell 23 percent last fiscal year, while Sharp said profit soared 86 percent to a record high. Toshiba said net profit doubled for the January-March quarter, while Fujitsu said it swung to profitability last fiscal year and gave a bullish outlook for this year. Honda reported its best-ever year of profits.

The broader index of all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section slipped 6.02 points, or 0.49 percent, to end at 1,204.94. The index climbed 1.34 points, or 0.11 percent, on Monday.

On the first section, volume was an estimated 1.379 billion shares, down from 1.525 billion the day before. Declining issues beat advancers 991 to 463 and 105 issues ended unchanged from Monday.

Tokyo markets got no help from Wall Street.

In New York on Monday, U.S. stocks slipped amid concern about the impact on the U.S. economy of an interest rate hike expected in the coming months. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was off 0.6 percent.

In currencies, the dollar sank against the yen and euro, following declines in U.S. stocks.

The euro was quoted at 128.89 yen late Tuesday, up from 128.81 yen late Monday. Against the dollar, the euro traded at $1.1874, up from $1.1824 Monday.

The yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond was unchanged at 1.5150 percent, from Monday. Its price stood at 99.87.

On the Net:

Tokyo Stock Exchange: http://www.tse.or.jp