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Asian Markets Update: After Topping 20,000, the Nikkei Dips on Profit-Taking

Meanwhile, markets in Hong Kong and Korea are closed for the New Year holiday.

TOKYO -- Technical trading dominated Friday's session after the benchmark

Nikkei 225

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

Trend Micro


Friday, with shares rising 2000, or 9.4%, to 23,400. Many believe the firm, -- along with

Yahoo! Japan

, 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


TheStreet Recommends



(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

saw pockets of profit-taking by dealers and retail investors, both shares closed higher. After

Lehman Brothers

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

(MC) - Get Moelis & Co. Class A Report

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.

Toyota Motor

(TM) - Get Toyota Motor Corp. Report

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

Straits Times

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.

Mentor Media

, 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.