TOKYO -- Japan ended the week bruised but not badly beaten, as high-tech shares continued to be sold while investors increasingly favored blue-chips that had been neglected for quite some time. Hong Kong managed to reverse its 13% loss totaled in the past 3 sessions, buoyed by bank stocks and mainland Chinese shares.
stock index was up 25.14 at 18,193.41, while the
index, composed of shares traded on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange's
first section, closed down 10.58 at 1599.01. The
small-cap index fell 1.94, or 2.1%, to 89.70, while the Nikkei over-the-counter shares closed down 28.76, or 1.3%, at 2134.96.
Although computer-related shares got hit once again, the market was much calmer after the bloodbath seen two days ago.
"We saw some good buying today so the market has started to feel a bit more comfortable even amid a tech-sector slump," said Masatoshi Sato, equities strategist at
. "If we see tech stocks decline further over the next few weeks, it just makes them that much cheaper."
Sales were concentrated in
, which slid 2000, or 7.8%, to 23,700 and
, down 2000, or 9.8%, to 18,500. Investors took to heart comments from
President Nobuyuki Idei, who said Thursday the company's shares were overvalued and should trade around 20,000. Sony slid 2000, or 7.8%, to 23,700.
Small-caps also saw the brunt of the selling, with
sliding 5000, or 6.1%, to 76,600 and
down 1500, or 7.3%, to 19,000. Buying was seen in OTC shares such as
, up 400, or 18.4%, to 2570, while
zipped up 24, or by 37%, to 89.
Investors are loving blue-chips, as some traders start to call pharmaceuticals and the paper and pulp industry a haven from the computer sector.
was up 365, or 16.3%, to 2610;
Japan Paperboard Industries
climbed 14, or 6.5%, to 229; and
closed up 390, or 9.5%, at 4510.
The greenback nestled around 105.30 yen after nearing a seven-week high earlier. Previously, any yen weakening invited Japanese exporters and European investors to step in, but since these investors have yet to show their faces, some currency traders are now starting to talk about a near-term target of 106.50 and then 110.
"Although many U.S. hedge funds got out of Japan late last year, those still holding long positions had to cover losses this week, which explains why the yen is hitting 105 yen against the dollar," said one trader from a large U.S. firm. "Some of our customers are now talking about buying more euros, or European equities, instead of Japan. That means the dollar will be supported at the expense of the yen, but this is only for the short run."
Tokyo financial markets will be closed Monday for a national holiday.
Hong Kong Bounces Back a Bit
Meanwhile, traders in Hong Kong were relieved to see some of the 13% loss culled over the past three sessions erased as the
index gained 252.40, or 1.7%, to 15,405.63. Although fear of an interest-rate rise in the U.S. and at home still hovers, traders bought back banking shares in anticipation of good earnings results.
closed up 3.000, or 3.1%, at 100.500, while
Bank of East Asia
rose 1.050, or 5.7%, to 19.450.
Investors are targeting mainland Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong on vague talk that China will loosen much of its stringent financial regulations in the months to come.
hiked up by 0.450, or 3.6%, to 12.950, while
closed up 0.450, or 7.32%, at 6.600.
index closed up 46.83, or 2%, at 2406.04, while Korea and Taiwan fell. The
index lost 12.14, or 1.3%, to 948.65, while the
index ended 76.56 points lower at 8845.47.