TOKYO -- Tokyo shares were slightly lower Thursday as selected technology shares were hit with profit-taking ahead of the close of the fiscal first half on Sept. 30.


Nikkei 225

index shed 147.26 to close at 16,311.05, while the


index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, lost 6.94 to finish at 1513.71. The


small-cap index closed flat at 76.42, while the Nikkei


index gained 0.43 to stand at 1618.73.

Local news ruled the session, with shares of the

Industrial Bank of Japan


Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank


Fuji Bank

jumping before the stocks are delisted due to their upcoming merger. IBJ rose 33 yen, or 4.1%, to 835 ($7.83), DKB gained 8, or 1.0%, to 810, while Fuji Bank rose 13, or 1.6%, to 819. The new merged institution will be called

Mizuho Holdings



fell hard during the morning session but managed to rebound after news that the president of

Aozora Bank

, in which Softbank owns a 48.88% stake, committed suicide Wednesday. Although investors initially had thought Tadayo Honma's death a setback, some investors speculated that a management reshuffling would occur at the bank (formally known as

Nippon Credit Bank

). Shares rose 720, or 6.5%, to 11,880.

Matsushita Electric Industries

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gained a mere 5 to 2900 after the firm said it would jointly test third-generation mobile-phone systems with Sweden's

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On the downside, institutional investors looked to make a quick yen on tech shares before their books close next week.


lost 26, or 2.7%, to 943, while

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone


shed 50,000, or 3.8%, to 1.26 million.

Shares of


, maker of Hello Kitty and other kitschy Japanese pop products, fell 85, or 3.4%, to 2390 after the firm lowered its expected group net profit for the year ending March 2001 to 7.7 billion yen vs. 17.1 billion yen.

The euro managed to hit another low against the dollar, hitting 0.8474 during Asian trading. The greenback also slid against the yen recently to fetch 106.64.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index slid 501.17, or 3.2%, to close at 15,164.45 largely due to shares of

Pacific Century Cyberworks

( PCW) getting pummeled. PCCW fell HK$1.60, or a whopping 14.9%, to 9.15 ($1.17) after shares were suspended midday Wednesday at HK$10.75.

Cable & Wireless PLC

( CWP) had placed 1.04 billion of its PCCW shares, and previous worries that the shares would be placed at a deep discount were confirmed. C&W placed each share in the market at 9.88.

Shares of firms with major operations in mainland China also took a tumble, with

China Mobile

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down 2.75, or 5.1%, to 51.25, while

Legend Holdings

slid 0.50, or 6.9%, to 6.75.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's


index shed 10.09, or 1.7%, to close at 595.99, while Taiwan's


index was the lone gainer among the major Asian indices, rising 40.81 to finish trade at 6920.90.