TOKYO -- Local fund managers scooped up selected technology shares early in the day, but the market slumped anyway.


Nikkei 225

index shed 12.99, to 15,626.96, marking a fresh 18-month low. The


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, fell 8.68 to 1439.43, the


small-cap index shed 0.46 to 74.17, while the Nikkei


index lost 5.50 to 1571.96.

The day started off on a good note, as fund managers bought key electronic shares ahead of the close of the fiscal first-half on Sept. 30. Some of the favorites noted today were


, up 20 yen, or 4.4%, to 4730 and



, up 10 to 2375.

However, a weak telecom sector irked traders.

Japan Telecom

lost 270,000, or 8.0%, to 3.11 million,


shed 53,000, or 7.5%, to 650,000, while


slid 120,000, or 3.8%, to 3.01 million. In addition, many traders indicated that hedge funds were still shorting the market, adding to the slide today.

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Game lovers were also depressed after they heard that



cut by half its planned shipments of its flagship PlayStation 2 game console for North America. Sony Computer Entertainment America announced overnight that it would only be able to ship 500,000 PS2 units at the Oct. 26 launch, although the firm indicated it would still meet its global sales target of 10 million units by the end of March 2001. Shares closed down 730, or 6.4%, to 10,640.

With every currency dealer patiently waiting to see if Denmark accepts the euro or not, not much happened in the foreign exchange market. The dollar edged slightly lower against the yen to recently fetch 107.51.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index nudged 28.38 lower to 15,415.75, as traders seemed reluctant to make large trades before several large property and telecom firms announced their fiscal first-half results after the market close. Property developer

Sun Hung Kai Properties


rose HK$0.25 to 69.75 ($8.94), while

Pacific Century Cyberworks


closed the day flat at 9.00. Local reports indicated that Pacific Century would post a fiscal first-half loss of around $150 million to $250 million on revenue of about $80 million.

The current market darling among foreign mutual funds is motor manufacturer

Johnson Electric

, which jumped 1.05, or 6.5%, to 17.15.



index lost 152.17, or 2.3%, to 6564.87 as index heavyweight

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

(TSM) - Get Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Sponsored ADR Report

shed NT$4.50, or 4.1%, to 106.50 ($3.41). Meanwhile, Korea's


index rose 6.54, or 1.1%, to 605.85.