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TOKYO-- Japanese stocks as well as the yen fell Monday, as investors sold their long positions in large blue chips, investment technology shares and the currency, in an effort to book profits ahead of the March 31 fiscal year end.

The benchmark

Nikkei 225

index fell 245.28, or 1.2%, to 19,543.75, while the


index, comprised of shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, tumbled 39.05, or 2.3%, to 1680.72. The


small cap index rose 1.48, or 1.2%, to 128.99, while the Nikkei's


shares climbed 56.55, or 2.1%, to 2713.67.

Large tech stocks mostly closed lower, partly affected by Nasdaq's fall in the U.S. on Friday.



tumbled 60, or 2.5%, to 2380, while

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fell 60, or 1.7%, to 3470.

Bank shares continued their fall, with investors worried about the likely adoption of a new tax on large banks in the Tokyo metropolitan area within a couple of weeks.

Mazda Motor

plunged 80, or 18.3%, to 358 after the firm announced late Friday that it will slash it group net profit forecast for fiscal 1999 to 25 billion yen, from 40 billion yen.

The premieres of seven new mutual funds this week had investors chasing biotech, small-cap IT and Internet shares, in the hope that fund managers would be making similar purchases.

Takara Shuzo

rose 65, or 2.5%, to 2690, while

Trans Cosmos

climbed 3050, or 6.4%, to 51,000.

Anticipation of blockbuster sales for the PlayStation 2 games machine on its March 4 debut lifted


(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

2000, or 6.8%, to 31,650.

The U.S. dollar weakened slightly to 110.65 yen after investors unwound their long dollar positions, currency dealers said. Although Japanese investors are waiting to pick up the dollar when it hits 110.15 to 110.20 yen, the dollar is expected to continue falling during London trading as well.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index tumbled 276.79, or 1.7%, to 16,322.37, as interest rate worries in the U.S. crossed the Pacific. Due to Hong Kong's currency peg to the dollar, rises in U.S. rates usually mean higher rates in the territory too. Bank shares, which are among the worst affected by higher rates, fell, with



down 1.75, or 1.9%, to 89.50 and its subsidiary

Hang Seng Bank


down 0.75, or 1.0%, to 71.00.

Nothing new emerged from

Pacific Century Cyberworks

and its bid for

Cable & Wireless HKT


, which is already in merger talks with

Singapore Telecommunications

. The market is intently focused on how much PCCW can offer for C&W HKT, given the former's expected dependence on offering either shares or recruiting partners to help with its bid. PCCW fell 1.20, or 4.7%, to 24.20, while HKT fell 0.05 to 25.70.

Meanwhile, seven U.S. companies will list on the Hong Kong Stock exchange this month in a pilot program to co-list shares between the two jurisdictions. The selected shares are


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(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report


Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report


Dell Computer

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(AMGN) - Get Amgen Inc. Report


Applied Materials

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(SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report

. The Hong Kong firms to be listed on Nasdaq have yet to be announced.