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TOKYO -- A dealer-led short-covering spree helped Japan's stock market rebound after four consecutive down sessions, but sentiment still remained rather low as investors fretted about the state of the nation's economy.

The

Nikkei 225

index rose 372.18, or 2.4%, at 16,099.67, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, climbed 26.69, or 1.8%, at 1479.84. The

Jasdaq

small-cap index jumped 3.64, or 4.7%, at 80.81, while the Nikkei

over-the-counter

index gained 29.00, or 1.9%, at 1577.36.

With the Nikkei 225 index sliding nearly 10% in just a week, many short positions were covered after tech shares started to be bought by local fund managers, traders said. However, with the head of Japan's banking watchdog resigning over the weekend over a bribery scandal, and the threat of more bankruptcies looming in the background, retail investors are no where to be found. Although local dealers and some fund managers are popping in and out of the market, any enthusiasm for the market to head higher has only come from trailing the performance of the U.S. market, which is not enough to have a sustainable rally, traders lamented.

Most large-cap tech shares were higher, with

Softbank

rising 100 yen, or 1.1%, at 9250 ($84.47). The government said they would not alter the terms of the sale of nationalized

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Nippon Credit Bank

.

NTT DoCoMo

(NTT)

climbed 30,000, or 2.6%, at 2.82 million after

The Wall Street Journal's

online edition reported that the firm and

America Online

(AOL)

had agreed to jointly develop Internet services in Japan. DoCoMo also signed a memorandum of understanding with

Sony

(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

to distribute Sony's games on its I-mode mobile phone service. Sony fell 30 at 10,040.

Also helping sentiment today was a move by a group of 44 firms announcing the slashing of their minimum trading lot to 100 shares from 1000 in a bid to attract more retail customers. Firms that benefited from this move included

Tokyo Electron

, up 1500, or 12.7%, at 13,350,

TDK

(TDK)

, up 40, or 3.0%, at 14,110 and

Murata Manufacturing

, up 1040, or 8.0%, at 13,990.

The greenback barely moved against the yen and recently fetched 109.52.

With investors waiting around for U.S. jobs data later this week, any rise in the

Hang Seng

index was met with brisk profit-taking. The index pared earlier gains but managed to close up 56.47, or .34% at 16,897.45, closely following

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get China Mobile Ltd. Report

, which rose HK$1.75, or 2.8%, at 64.00 ($8.21).

HSBC

(HBC)

was flat at 102.50 despite the firm reporting late Monday its first half pretax profits rose 28% to $5.2 billion. Traders also said the firm could be getting ready to announce its online banking plan sometime this week.

Korea's

Kospi

index surged 21.13, or 3.0%, at 727.10 after foreign investors cheered the possibility of heavy restructuring at the

Hyundai Group

of companies. Local reports indicated Hyundai is planning to spin off its auto group and introduce more reform programs by the end of this week.

Hyundai Electronic Industries

bounced up KW2600, or 14.9%, at 20,000 ($17.91), while

Hyundai Securities

rose 1000, or 12.1%, at 9300.