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.
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
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.
fell 850, or 3.5%, to 23,780, while
declined 50, or 2.25, to 2225.
On the upside,
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
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
index inch up 214.64, or 1.4%, to 15,789.20.
Although the market remains somewhat bearish, buying in
-- up 2.600, or 5.8%, to 47.300 -- and
-- 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.
fell 0.500 to 96.000 and
Sun Hung Kai Properties
was down 1.750, or 2.3%, to 74.500.
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.