TOKYO -- Thank god for bargain-hunters who think a stock worth $1,250 a pop is cheap.
Tokyo shares edged higher thanks to retail buying in
, which jumped late in the day to erase its 15% loss from Monday. Despite Softbank holding up, other large tech plays were weaker, as investors unwound cross-shareholdings before the March 31 fiscal year-end.
index rose 147.89 to 19,944, while the
index, which includes shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, climbed 15.70, or 1.0%, to 1665.53. The
small-cap index fell 1.82, or 1.6%, to 110.14, while the Nikkei
shares slid 59.02, or 2.5%, to 2324.71.
Although market watchers expect the Nikkei index to fall further ahead of the fiscal 1999 year-end, yesterday's selloff in many U.S. equities has some on the edge of their seats.
"The recent selling in tech, electronic and telecom shares is definitely due to large Japanese investors unwinding cross-shareholdings. Having said that, U.S. investors are also selling amid the fray, which gets me a bit worried as to why," said a head of an equities trading desk at a U.S. firm here who asked not to be named.
"Sure, losses on
U.S. Treasuries a few months back only explains half the story. There could be many more short-term
hedge funds who are getting hit elsewhere and are covering losses in Japanese stocks," he added.
After sliding yesterday due to a ratings downgrade by
Nikko Salomon Smith Barney
, Softbank gained 18,000 yen, or 15.4%, to 135,000. Nikko Salomon said it had cut Softbank's rating to neutral from outperform over concerns about the firm's bid for now-nationalized
Nippon Credit Bank
rose 19, or 1.4%, to 1420.
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
lost 20,000, or 1.3%, to 1.51 million, while
shed 7 million, or 5.0%, to 133 million.
, which was down 510, or 1.7%, to 29,040, said its
Sony Computer Entertainment
has sold 980,000 units of its new PlayStation2 game console, a wee bit shy of its 1 million-unit target. Of the sales, about 380,000 were ordered online, and analysts say this is the first time that shipments of a household appliance have topped 700,000 within the first few days of sale.
rose 80, or 24.0%, to 413 after the
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
will take a 30% stake in the firm. The head of Mitsubishi Motors confirmed he did talk to DaimlerChrysler, but would not elaborate if the firm would take an equity stake. A key number to watch is whether Daimler will purchase a 33.4% stake, which gives them veto rights over the board and would signal a de facto buyout of Mitsubishi Motors.
The greenback inched slightly higher against the yen to 107.73 in slow trading.
index rose 106.60 to 17,865.36. After the market talked up the possibility for
possible inclusion in
Morgan Stanley Capital International's China Free
index and the Hang Seng, shares fell HK$5.75, or 9.2%, to 57.00 on profit-taking.
Many investors, likely following moves seen in the U.S., are actively seeking small-cap shares.
shed 1.50, or 1.9%, to 77.50, while
Pacific Century CyberWorks
rose 0.75, or 3.2%, to 24.10.
Hong Kong also awaits the release of the fiscal budget Wednesday, and some traders said there could be damaging news for property, financial and retail shares if Hong Kong introduces a retail sales tax or increases the corporate tax rate.
With presidential elections coming up next week, Taiwan's
index gained 12.16 to 9380.07 after much recent volatility. Korea's
index lost 1.99 to 907.34