TOKYO -- The newly-constituted

Nikkei 225

index took center stage in Japan again on Wednesday, pushing down some blue-chips as tech stocks rose.

Although the revamped index debuted on Monday, many foreign investors were still behind in adjusting their portfolios and were selling futures contracts in order to raise cash, traders said.

The Nikkei 225 fell 138.02 points to 18,134.31, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, rose 0.16 to 1667.89. The


small-cap index jumped 6.23, or 6.8%, to 97.69, while the Nikkei


index climbed 61.55, or 3.2%, to 1984.66.

Since the new components of the Nikkei 225 can be as much as 60 times higher in price than the 30 shares that have left the index, many foreign investors this week have been selling June Nikkei 225 futures contracts to raise cash.

In addition, local dealers were also hedging in anticipation of a backlash from

Oracle Japan's

secondary offering this Friday, traders added. Although recent IPOs in Japan have gone relatively well, some local investors still fear there could be disaster waiting around the corner when Oracle Japan jumps from the OTC market to the TSE's first section. June Nikkei futures, which trade on the

Osaka Stock Exchange

, shed 90.00 to 18,080.00.

Some of the new additions to the Nikkei 225, such as






were lower as investors locked in profits after shares jumped in the days, ahead of the index reshuffle. Kao shed 110 yen, or 3.3%, to 3200, while Ito-Yokado fell 390, or 4.8%, to 7760. Tech and telecom shares were higher, with

Yahoo! Japan

gaining 7 million, or 13.5%, to 58.95 million,



rising 70,000, or 2.0%, to 3.66 million and


climbing 2000, or 9.5%, to 23,100.

In currency dealings, the euro continued to slide against the yen and the dollar as investors lose confidence that the European Central Bank will do anything to stop the euro's slide. Even though the ECB may hike rates by 25 basis points on Thursday, dealers said the euro would still drop since the ECB's previous rate hikes did not help to strengthen the slumping currency. After the euro was sold for the dollar, dealers in turn picked up the yen. This pushed the greenback slightly lower to 105.61 yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index fell 152.62, or 1.0%, to 15,227.39 as investors felt uneasy about the impending release of key U.S. data on Thursday, which may indicate an interest rate hike. Strong first quarter wages and gross domestic product numbers could push the U.S.

Federal Reserve

to raise rates in mid-May, which would indicate a rate rise in Hong Kong as well, since the Hong Kong dollar currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar. After a weak land auction by the government yesterday, property shares remained weak with

Cheung Kong

falling HK$1.00, or 1.2%, to 85.50.

Although the rumors have been around for more than a week,

The Wall Street Journal

today revived talk that Australia's

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report


Singapore Telecommunications

could knock down

Pacific Century CyberWorks'

bid for Hong Kong phone company

Cable & Wireless HKT


. PCCW shed 0.35, or 2.6%, to 13.05, while C&W HKT rose 0.65, or 3.8%, to 17.75.

Hong Kong also launched two new indices today to track the region's tech stocks. The

Hang Seng IT

index will track the 18 largest tech shares by market capitalization, with nearly the whole index comprised of

China Telecom

, Cable & Wireless HKT and Pacific Century CyberWorks. The

Hang Seng IT Portfolio Index

will instead adjust the weightings so that one company will not have a weighting of more than 20%.

HIS Services

, the company compiling the indices, said it would release closing levels once a day until May 12, and from then onward will update them every 15 seconds during market hours.



index dropped 385.16, or 4.3%, to 8921.12 when investors fled the market after hearing that China was stepping up its naval activities off Taiwan. The

Ministry of Defense

said that China recently increased its training sessions for bomber and jet fighter crews.