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TOKYO-- Japanese shares took a breather Tuesday and closed lower after reaching a 29-month high on Monday. The dollar, meanwhile, firmed against the yen on anxiety over the upcoming

Group of Seven

meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors this weekend.

The benchmark

Nikkei 225

index fell 240.66, or 1.2%, to 19,196.57, while the


index, comprising shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, closed down 16.13 points to 1665.84. The


small-cap index was down 1.12, or 1.2%, to 93.59, while the Nikkei


shares were off 14.03 to 2169.49.

With U.S. markets closed for a national holiday Monday, investors couldn't find much incentive to trade either way, traders said. The dollar inched higher to 104.97 yen during Asian trading on what foreign exchange traders said to be mixed emotions about the upcoming G7 meeting.

"Although we expect Finance Minister

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Kiichi Miyazawa

to repeat that a strong yen is undesirable, the market is split on whether the other G7 countries will fully support that in a statement or not," said one currency trader at a Japanese bank.

Talk of dollar-yen option expiries worth $2 billion to $43 billion from a U.S. bank around the 105.00-yen level capped the yen from getting any weaker, traders added.


(SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report

fell 850, or 3.5%, to 23,780, while

Toyota Motor


declined 50, or 2.25, to 2225.

On the upside,

Yahoo! Japan

came closer in becoming the first Japanese company to see shares climb above the 100 million yen mark. With an upcoming 2-for-1 stock split and a recent announcement that it is buying out parent


Web service companies, Yahoo! Japan just won't wither. Shares closed up 2 million, or 2.1%, to 99.4 million.

Another reason for such a high price for the Web servicer is liquidity. Over 80% of shares are held by Softbank and the company itself, leaving very little for secondary market trading.


shares closed up 30, or 5.7%, to 555 after the company announced plans to sell a 20% stake of its convenience store chain






Traders said they will be on the lookout for

Hikari Tsushin

shares Wednesday, after the firm said it will launch a business-to-business e-commerce operation in February. The company, which announced its plans after the close, said it will provide Web site building, Internet text security services and online shopping sites through the new venture.

Hong Kong traders were also at a loss on what to do today, with a handful of buying in selected blue-chips helping the

Hang Seng

index inch up 214.64, or 1.4%, to 15,789.20.

Although the market remains somewhat bearish, buying in

China Telecom

(CHL) - Get China Mobile Ltd. Report

-- up 2.600, or 5.8%, to 47.300 -- and

Hutchison Whampoa

-- up 4.000, or 3.9%, to 107.000 -- helped the market stay above water today. Traders said Hutchison shares were buoyed by a 7% rise in


, a major shareholder.

Other blue-chips, in lieu of an interest-rate rise in the U.S. and at home, did not fare as well.

HSBC Holdings


fell 0.500 to 96.000 and

Sun Hung Kai Properties

was down 1.750, or 2.3%, to 74.500.


Straits Times

index fell 22.27 to 2319.77, while Korea's


index lost 1.74 to 981.53. Taiwan's


index also declined 65.24 to 9250.19.