TOKYO -- After a three-day weekend, Tokyo investors had trouble breaking out of vacation mode, given the dearth of domestic news which might have helped to guide trading. But with the
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting coming up, it really was unsurprising that investors were holding back.
The Japanese market was also cautiously looking at Taiwan, where stocks shot higher after a continuous week of declines. Although government support had a lot to do with the 5.5% rise in the
index today, retail investors were also seen amid the fray.
stock index rose 36.04 points to 19602.36, while the
index, which includes all shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, dropped 1.67 to 1672.55. The
small-cap index rose 1.61, or 1.4%, to 117.40, while Nikkei
shares rose 14.14 to 2436.00.
Selected Internet shares staged a comeback, most notably
, which are considered benchmark Net issues. There are a handful of new mutual funds opening up shop at the end of the week, which prompted some investors to speculate fund managers would be picking up the two shares. Softbank jumped 20,000 yen, or 19.1%, to 125,000, while Hikari Tsushin climbed 5500, or 4.6%, to 104,000.
dropped 690, or 2.6%, to 25,950 despite news that the firm is set to announce a new Net venture Wednesday.
climbed 63, or 7.0%, to 970 after announcing plans to slash its workforce by several thousand over a three-year period.
shares dropped 100, or 3.2%, to 3050 after the firm said its net profits for fiscal 1999, ending March 31, would be about a third of the previously expected amount. Fujitsu said it had lower sales in its information system and software services this year.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun
said that it will drop
Mitsui Trust & Banking
from three indices it compiles due to the firm's intended merger with
Chuo Trust and Banking
will replace Mitsui Trust on the Nikkei 225,
Fuji Television Network
Asahi Chemical Industry
In economic news, the
Ministry of International Trade and Industry
, a widely watched indicator of economic activity, rose 0.5% in January, after a 0.4% rise in December. Many investors prefer looking at the all-industries index rather than gross domestic product figures, which are often suspect because of insufficient seasonal adjustment. Currency dealers chose to ignore the All-Industries data, however, as the greenback strengthened to around 106.41 yen.
Taiwan's TWSE index jumped 468.43, or 5.5%, to 9004.48, after retail investors hopped into the market that has steadily declined for weeks. In truth, the rise was mostly thanks to government buying, which accounted for roughly 40% of the demand for stocks today, traders estimated.
Today's recovery on the market hardly heralds clear sailing ahead on the political front. In reaction to the stunning victory of opposition candidate
as Taiwan's next president, Chinese
President Jiang Zemin
said that Beijing was only willing to talk if Taiwan would accept Beijing's "One China" principle. Chen, on the other hand, adheres more closely to the model of state-to-state relations espoused by current president Lee Teng-hui. China had warned that Taiwanese would regret a vote for Chen, and has threatened the use of force to retake Taiwan if the Taiwanese dragged their feet in political negotiations.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, the key
index dropped 34.48 to 17,199.98, largely affected by the 3.9% decline on the
slipped HK$1.00, or 1.4%, to 71.00 while
Cable & Wireless HKT
shed 0.90, or 4.1%, to 21.10. Although this week's expected 25 basis point hike in U.S. interest rates is largely factored into the market, bank shares still fell, with
dropping 1.50, or 1.7%, to 87.00
rose 0.30, or 2.3%, to 13.35 after the firm was included in Morgan Stanley Capital International's China Free index. Many fund managers like to watch the MSCI indices to gauge their foreign investments.