TOKYO -- It's new and improved, and most traders seemed quite pleased with the debut of the revamped

Nikkei 225

index today, as selected blue chips and technology shares rebounded after a big tumble last week.

With many major world markets and investors still off on Easter holidays, trading volume was quite low in Asia. However, many Asian investors are worried that U.S. shares may take a dive later in the global session, which saw Korean and Taiwan markets close lower.

The Nikkei 225 rose 227.47 points, or 1.3%, to 18,480.15, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, climbed 26.69, or 1.6%, to 1660.81. The


small-cap index gained 0.75 to 88.44, while the Nikkei


index rose 20.39, or 1.1%, to 1895.21.

After the debut of the reshuffled Nikkei 225 index, relief spread on the hope that last week's massive selloff would not continue. However, there were two concerns nagging traders. The first was


(MSFT) - Get Report

warning late last week about a possible slowdown in its business, leaving traders unsure which way the market would head this week.

In addition, news from Internet incubator and phone reseller

Hikari Tsushin

stopped what should have been a bigger rally in small-cap technology shares. Hikari announced today that it lost 12.99 billion yen for the fiscal half ending February 29, and will likely suffer an operating loss of 11.6 billion yen for the full year. Although the loss was expected, the market was more concerned with what the firm plans to do in the coming year to boost revenue and profits, as shares have tanked by nearly 90% since mid-February.

The firm said it would halve its target for sales outlets for mobile phones to 1,540 from 3,000 and said it would decide whether to reorganize under a holding company by August. It's a little too soon to see if this satisfies investors. On one hand, Hikari shares finally traded today after 17 consecutive trading suspensions. However, by the end of the day, offers outnumbered bids and shares closed ask-only at 21,000 yen.

Large tech and telecom shares brushed aside the Hikari news and climbed modestly higher.


(SNE) - Get Report

rose 400, or 3.3%, to 12,700,

Matsushita Electric Industrial

(MC) - Get Report

climbed 85, or 3.2%, to 2785,


gained 460, or 1.9%, to 24,360, while


jumped 5000, or 9.6%, to 57,300.

The greenback inched slightly higher against the yen to around 105.66.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's


index fell 19.58, or 2.6%, to 747.58 on concerns that U.S. shares may trade lower after investors come back from the three-day break. Program selling emerged as well after the Kospi rose four days last week, traders added.

Samsung Electronics

lost 12,500 won, or 4.1%, to 290,000, while

SK Telecom

(SKM) - Get Report

traded at 302,000 after its 10-for-1 stock split today.



index fell 312.39, or 3.4%, to 8808.09 as sentiment for technology shares deteriorated amid thin volume. The market was horrified to see


, a financial information provider that trades like a pure Net stock, fall 7% to NT$157.00 right after the firm distributed extra dividends. This hurt the entire tech sector, leading

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing

to fall 3.2% to 180.00.