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Tokyo stocks rise in morning on Wall Street gain.

TOKYO, Dec. 17 Kyodo Share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange rose Friday morning on an overnight gain on Wall Street.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 73.65 points, or 0.41%, to 18,184.96, after falling for the fourth straight day Thursday. The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) of all First Section issues rose 7.13 points, or 0.44%, to 1,625.35.

Trading, however, remained sluggish, with volume on the main section falling to 253 million shares from Thursday morning's 284 million shares, as many foreign investors have headed off for the Christmas holidays, traders said.

Despite the rises in the Nikkei and the TOPIX, losers exceeded gainers 720 to 431, while 186 issues finished the two-hour session unchanged.

After opening at the morning low of 18,126.11, the Nikkei stayed in plus territory, supported by the healthy performance on Wall Street, where the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index closed above 3,700.00 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed higher.

"An overnight rise in index futures prices in Chicago also prompted investors to buy back stocks," said Hiroichi Nishi, deputy general manager of the products group at Nikko Securities Co.

The near-term March Nikkei 225 index futures contract closed at 18,125 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up 25 points from Thursday's close in Osaka. It continued to rise in Osaka on Friday morning, finishing the session at 18,210.

The Nikkei index climbed as high as 18,255.92 at around 9:40 a.m., but profit-taking ahead of the year-end put a cap on the key market gauge, traders said.

Information and telecommunication-related issues were mixed, following Thursday's announcement of a three-way merger plan by DDI Corp., KDD Corp. and IDO Corp.

KDD finished the session at a bid-only 13,590 yen, compared with Thursday's close of 11,590 yen, while DDI finished at 1,460,000 yen, unchanged from Thursday.

Japan Telecom gained 160,000 yen to 4,410,000 yen. NTT DoCoMo lost 70,000 yen to 3,480,000 yen, and NTT Data 20,000 yen to 2,120,000 yen. NTT finished at 1,680,000 yen, unchanged from the previous day.

Toyota Motor, IDO's parent, and Kyocera, a major shareholder of DDI, were boosted by the merger news, traders said.

The automaker hit a record high 4,720 yen before finishing at 4,700 yen, up 480 yen, and the Kyoto-based ceramics maker rose 740 yen to 14,540 yen.

Export-oriented technology issues were strong, helped by the rise in the Nasdaq, traders said.

In the electric machinery sector, which rose 1.02%, Sony hit a record high 20,550 yen before finishing at 20,510 yen, up 1,080 yen, and Advantest touched a record high 20,400 yen and finished at 20,280 yen, up 830 yen.

Fujitsu rose 50 yen to 3,700 yen, Hitachi 13 yen to 1,356 yen, and Canon 140 yen to 3,880 yen.

The transportation machinery sector was the morning's biggest winner, surging 6.37%, with Honda Motor up 190 yen to 3,830 yen, Fuji Heavy Industries 3 yen to 820 yen, and Hino Motors 1 yen to 337 yen.

Nissan Motor fell 25 yen to 442 yen.

The U.S. dollar's recovery to the 103 yen level helped these exporters move up, traders said.

At 11 a.m., the dollar traded at 103.15-17 yen, up from 102.77-80 yen late Thursday in Tokyo.

The volume leader in the morning was Sumitomo Metal Industries, falling 3 yen to 81 yen.

Steelmakers as a group lost 1.37%, with NKK down 1 yen to 69 yen, Kawasaki Steel 9 yen to 200 yen, and Kobe Steel 1 yen to 70 yen.

Nippon Steel finished at 237 yen, unchanged from Thursday.

Financial issues also faced selling.

In the banking sector, which fell 0.62%, Daiwa Bank lost 16 yen to 313 yen, Industrial Bank of Japan 30 yen to 1,044 yen, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi 7 yen to 1,449 yen.

Among brokerage firms, which fell 1.02% as a group, Nomura Securities lost 30 yen to 1,684 yen, Nikko Securities 2 yen to 1,248 yen, and Daiwa Securities Group 10 yen to 1,440 yen.

The Second Section index rose 18.68 points, or 0.73%, to 2,582.73 on volume of 21 million shares.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 20, 1999
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