TOKYO -- America's
is back in robust form, and Tokyo has followed suit.
With foreign fund managers and individual investors buying selected tech and financial shares, the
index managed to close above the psychological resistance level of 20,000 for the first time since Feb. 9.
The Nikkei 225 index rose 122.15 to 20,081.67, while the
index, comprised of shares listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, climbed 6.30 to 1725.24. The
small-cap index fell 1.33, or 1.1%, to 124.40, while the Nikkei's
shares slid 22.62 to 2668.82.
Solid closings in the U.S. overnight helped sentiment in Asia, but individual company news continues to dominate trading in Tokyo. With the boom in the mutual fund industry attracting a host of new stock investors, shares in securities firms have been faring well.
climbed 150, or 4.8%, to 3250, while
jumped 71, or 8.3%, to 924.
Tech shares rose modestly, with
leading the pack today, rising 110, or 4.5%, to 2565.
Matsushita Electric Industrial
climbed 30 to 3230, while
rose 100 to 32,600.
After announcing worse-than-expected profits for fiscal 1999, Sony's rival
slid 500, or 13.9%, to 3100. Traders say the launch of Sony's PlayStation 2 game console on Saturday is also hurting Sega shares.
, a department store operator, continues to feel the pinch of waning consumer spending. After announcing it may close its flagship department store in Osaka, shares slid 8, or 8.9%, to 82.
fell 4000, or 2.5%, to 156,000, while
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
lost 20,000, or 1.3%, to 1.5 million.
The greenback lost ground against the yen to around 109.15 today, when buying in the yen was seen from U.S. fund managers, according to currency dealers. The yen could see another bout of buying, traders added, as domestic fund managers start selling dollar-denominated assets before the March 31 fiscal year-end to improve the value of their portfolios. Also, a
survey found more Japanese fund managers were repatriating money as a rise in U.S. rates is expected to hurt financial markets further. A survey of 11 fund managers who control some of the largest pools of assets in Japan found that their weightings of U.S. equities were at 37.7%, the lowest in four years.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, investors let some air out of the market after all the hype in recent weeks over
Pacific Century CyberWorks
and its takeover of
Cable & Wireless HKT
. The key
index slid 325.85, or 1.9%, to 16,843.59, as PCCW dropped 1.45, or 6.6%, to 20.70 and C&W HKT declined 3.25, or 12.5%, to 22.70.
, an Internet portal, made its trading debut on the Growth and Enterprise GEM market today (Hong Kong's second board), closing at $9.00, up 406%, after an IPO price of $1.78. The stock was massively oversubscribed, even though its main English language business still does not exist.
Such a response may have been behind the rescheduling of another IPO, this one for
, the web portal unit of
. It has been pushed up the calendar to March 9 from March 14 due to overwhelming response to its roadshow. HongKong.com will offer 640 million shares at $1.60 to $1.88 each.
index closed up 9.37, or 1.1%, at 828.38.