TOKYO -- The renewed love affair between investors and blue-chips carried on across the Pacific on Friday, after the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

moved past 11,000 overnight. Investors in Japan were keen buyers of pharmaceutical, auto and steel stocks, as they shed large tech and telecom shares.

The key

Nikkei 225

index rose 253.48 points, or 1.3%, to 19,958.08, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, fell 10.95 to 1640.60. The


small-cap index tumbled 3.85, or 3.4%, to 109.51, while Nikkei


shares fell 74.23, or 3.2%, to 2282.34.

The Nikkei 225 inched above a key psychological resistance level of 20,000 at midday, for the first time since March 6. This gave some investors hope that the market will keep pushing higher once fiscal year 2000 starts on April 1.

Five new mutual funds opened up shop today, mostly targeting laggard blue-chips. Drug and steel makers benefited, along with

Toyota Motor

(TM) - Get Report

, up 170 yen, or 3.4%, to 5110 and

Nissan Motor


, up 5, or 1.2%, to 408.

Large tech and telecom stocks were mostly lower.


(SNE) - Get Report

shed 170 to 25,700,


lost 160,000, or 3.7%, to 4.18 million and


fell 2300, or 7.2%, to 29,700.

Internet holding company


is reportedly looking to increase its capital by about 300 billion yen with a new issuance of shares, local reports said. The offering, which is expected around April, would help the firm expand its investments in tech start-ups and other venture capital firms. Softbank's board is expected to approve the plan later today, which was why the company's shares closed down 14,000, or 13.9%, to 87,000.

Meanwhile the

Tokyo Stock Exchange

said it plans a new stock index including the firms listed on its high-tech


board, sometime in the fall.



, a recent addition to Mothers and the


in the U.S., closed down 400,000, or 1.5%, to 26 million.

With U.S. stocks showing some might, the greenback inched higher against the yen, to around 107.40. Japanese exporters, who often sell the dollar when it rises against the yen in order to lock in profits, capped the upside for the dollar today, dealers said.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index climbed 73.99 to 17,784.57. Thursday's record earnings having been within market expectations for

Hutchison Whampoa



Cheung Kong,

the stocks did little today. Hutchison, flat at $HK145.00, posted a 12-fold jump in profits to $117.35 for fiscal 1999, almost all of this on the back of its one-time sale of its British mobile phone subsidiary, Orange PLC. Cheung Kong, down 2.00, or 1.7%, to 114.00, saw its profits jump ninefold to $59.37 billion, largely the product of its 50% stake in Hutchison.

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Report

shed 1.75, or 2.3%, to 73.00, while

Pacific Century Cyberworks

gained 1.30, or 6.9%, to 20.10.



index fell 51.23 to 9482.64, while Korea's


index climbed 21.62, or 2.5%, to 889.24.