Originally created 07/17/04

Tokyo stocks end slightly higher



TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks ended slightly higher Friday as investors shrugged off worries about a possible hike in Chinese interest rates which would hurt Japanese exports. The U.S. dollar was lower against the Japanese yen.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues closed up 26.86 points, or 0.24 percent, at 11,436,00 points. On Thursday, the benchmark index rose 52.49 points, or 0.46 percent.

The broader index of all issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section rose 0.04 points to 1,151.16 points. The index dipped 0.37 points, or 0.03 percent, on Thursday.

The dollar was quoted at 109.62 yen by late afternoon Friday, up 0.04 yen from late Thursday in Tokyo but below the 109.77 yen it bought in New York. It traded between 109.38 yen and 110.05 yen on Friday in Tokyo.

Stocks opened trading Friday broadly weaker, with declining automaker, bank and high technology issues sending the benchmark Nikkei as much as 1.4 percent lower.

But the market later recouped all the losses. Investors bought Japanese tech shares after China's National Bureau of Statistics said the country's economy grew at a slower-than-expected rate during the first half of this year.

The data eased analysts' worries that Beijing would have to rein in its surging economy by hiking interest rates - a potential setback to Japan's economy, whose recovery has come thanks to strong demand in China for Japanese exports.

Tech blue chips Advantest, Kyocera, Tokyo Electron and Sharp were among the gainers.

Japanese bank UFJ and Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group, which officially announced the start of merger talks late Friday, also finished lower.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2375 late Friday in Tokyo from $1.2344 late Thursday. Against the yen, the euro was up at 135.55 yen from 135.19 yen.

In the bond market, the yield on Japan's benchmark 10-year government bond dipped to 1.7700 from 1.8000 late Thursday. Its price rose 0.25 point to 100.25.

On the Net:

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