Originally created 06/17/04

Tokyo stocks end higher, dollar down against yen



TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks rose Wednesday as receding expectations for an early interest rate hike in the United States helped boost technology and other export-related issues. The U.S. dollar was down against the Japanese yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 stocks climbed 254.02 points, or 2.23 percent, to end at 11,641.72 - its first rise in four sessions. On Tuesday, the index lost 103.96 points, or 0.90 percent.

The dollar was quoted at 109.65 yen by late afternoon Wednesday, down 1.29 yen from late Tuesday but above the 109.34 yen it bought in New York. The currency traded between 109.21 yen and 109.75 yen in Tokyo.

On the stock market, exporters such as Toyota, Honda and Canon rose along with high-technology leaders Advantest and TDK as investors grew less worried that the U.S. Federal Reserve would have to quickly hike interest rates to control inflation.

On Wall Street Tuesday, stocks rose after the U.S. Labor Department's "core" consumer price index data - which excludes energy and food prices - was released in line with expectations, showing that economic growth, and accompanying inflation, may be manageable.

U.S. shares also got a boost when Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said at his reconfirmation hearing before Congress that, in the short term, inflation was not a major concern. He reiterated, however, that the Fed would be aggressive if need be.

With the new developments, "the market looks to be strengthening step by step," said Cosmo Securities general manager Hiroshi Sato.

Solid gains by TDK and Toyota encouraged investors to look past the strengthening yen against the dollar and pick up other export-dependent blue chips, Sato said. Japanese exporters tend to get hurt by a stronger yen as it diminishes the value of overseas earnings.

In Tokyo, the broader index of all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section rose 15.79 points, or 1.37 percent, to close at 1,167.09. The index closed down 7.24 points, or 0.62 percent, on Tuesday.

Volume on the first section rose to an estimated 1.274 billion shares from 1.149 billion shares Tuesday. Advancers outpaced decliners 1,229 to 239, while 92 issues ended unchanged.

In other currencies, the euro rose to $1.2138 late Wednesday in Tokyo from $1.2037 late Tuesday. Against the yen, the euro fell to 133.08 yen from 133.93 yen.

In the bond market, Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond yield rose to 1.8000 percent from 1.7950 late Tuesday. Its price fell 0.58 point to 97.72 points.

On the Net:

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