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TOKYO -- The fallout in tech stocks around the world sent Tokyo equities to a fresh, intra-day six month low, although the market managed to turn around as bargain hunting from mutual fund managers strengthened during the last few minutes of trading.

The immediate pressure on the market is coming from the Friday's expiry of May options on the

Nikkei 225

index, the first contracts to expire since the benchmark's recent reshuffle. Stocks weren't helped by fears over the higher interest rates which could follow the

U.S. Federal Reserve's

meeting next week, and traders were not thrilled with new data that showed net selling of Japanese stocks by foreigners last month.

The Nikkei 225 fell 143.07 points to 17,701, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, shed 9.28 to 1659.86. The


small-cap index lost 3.32, or 3.3%, to 96.37, while the Nikkei


index lost 54.16, or 2.6%, to 2009.20.


drop overnight didn't help, but sentiment in Tokyo was bad on domestic concerns alone. Recent data showed that foreign investors sold off a net 846.27 billion yen ($7.8 billion) worth of Japanese stocks last month, a reversal from net purchases in March. With foreign investors largely considered the catalyst for last year's spectacular rally in Japan, some traders were discouraged. However others said that the power of domestic investors, many of whom are just turning to stocks this year, will help offset the sales from foreigners.

Although many of the hefty losses were erased by the end of the day, most large-cap tech and blue chips were battered.

Nippon Telephone & Telegraph


fell 20,000 yen, or 1.4%, to 1.4 million,



lost 860, or 5.0%, to 16,300, while

Nomura Securities


shed 65, or 2.3%, to 2715. Shares that rebounded in the end included

Toyota Motor

(TM) - Get Free Report

, up 20 to 5520,


, up 20 to 25,000, and




up 110 to 11,810.

With lingering intervention fears still in the air, the euro gained slightly against both the yen and the dollar. This pushed the greenback up against the yen to 109.42. Some dealers also say that the recent foreign asset purchases by Japanese companies have led some to sell the yen.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index fell 283.98 points, or 1.9%, to 14,492.92, with near term support pegged at 14,000. With the enthusiasm for tech stocks having dimmed for the time being, the market is having a hard time finding catalysts to trade on other than interest rates and Nasdaq.

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get Free Report

lost HK$1.75, 3.1%, to 54.50,

Hutchison Whampoa


lost 1.50, or 1.5%, to 100.00, while



lost 0.50 to 84.00.



index was down 14.97, or 4.2%, at 342.80, as the market worried about the possibility that

Morgan Stanley Capital International

may cut Thailand's weighting in their indices come June.