TOKYO -- Technical trading dominated Friday's session after the benchmark
index topped the 20,000 mark for the first time since August 1997 and players decided it was high time to take profits.
A rally in tech shares, however, helped the
indices stay afloat, with many players expecting the bull run to last for another week or so before Japan Inc. starts to book profits on securities ahead of the March 31 fiscal year-end.
Everyone seemed to want a piece of
Friday, with shares rising 2000, or 9.4%, to 23,400. Many believe the firm, -- along with
, which ended up 2 million, or 1.8%, to 113 million -- is a prime target for some of the new mutual funds starting up this month.
Even though recent highfliers such as
saw pockets of profit-taking by dealers and retail investors, both shares closed higher. After
hiked Softbank's 12-month target to 400,000 midweek, the stock jumped 9000, or 7.3%, to 133,000, and Sony rose 1080, or 3.8%, to 29,180.
Laggard tech plays such as
Matsushita Electric Industrial
continued to be picked up by foreign investors who had missed out on the tech rally late last year. Shares of Matsushita climbed 130, or 4.4%, to 3080.
Game makers saw some action as traders expect managers of new funds to include these shares in their portfolios.
soared 2000, or 9.1%, to 23,950, while
jumped 440, or 6.1%, to 7640 and
climbed 280, or about 10%, to 3090.
The Nikkei closed down 23.29 to 19,763.13 and the Topix index, comprising shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, rose 11.74 to 1741.22. The
small-cap index climbed 2.42, or 2.4%, to 105.47, while the Nikkei
shares rose 25.60, or 1.1%, to 2328.67.
A weaker yen, which boosts profits for Japanese exporters as products get cheaper for overseas consumers, helped auto makers.
rose 180, or 3.9%, to 4800, while
climbed 27, or 6.0%, to 480. The greenback stood around 107.57 yen.
In a shortened trading session, Singapore's
index rose 9.58 to 2558.91. Although bank shares were weak, expectations of mergers between media and Internet firms helped the market stay afloat.
, rose 0.055, or 10.9%, to 0.560.
It was a quiet day elsewhere in Asia due to the Lunar New Year holidays, which shut down markets in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, China and Malaysia.