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Markets & Stocks
Tokyo back above 16,000
March 16, 1999: 5:15 a.m. ET

Rising yen feeds hopes of better economy, Nikkei jumps; HK nears 11,000
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Tokyo shares revisited an old milestone Tuesday as the Nikkei index blazed past the 16,000 mark for the first time since last August amid rekindled hopes that Japan's recession-bound economy may be on the brink of a comeback.
     Hong Kong shares, meanwhile, came within a whisker of their own psychological breakthrough, as the Hang Seng shot up 74.39 points, or 0.69 percent, to close at 10,911.25, its highest finish in nearly a year. Traders told Reuters they believed the index could strike 11,000 within a few days.
     The upward trend came as investors jockeyed to beef up their positions in the event the Dow's minuet with the 10,000-point mark should finally prove successful Tuesday.
     In Japan, Nikkei traders, cheered by a rise in the yen against the dollar that may be a harbinger of better economic times to come, scooped up bargains with gusto, sending the benchmark average soaring nearly 1.86 percent, or 293.22 points, to 16,072.82. June Nikkei futures finished up 110 points at 15,880.
     Earlier Tuesday, the dollar slumped to 117.28 yen, its lowest level since Feb. 16 on an intraday basis. The drop came after Japan's finance minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, said he believed the yen's strength was underpinned by strong fundamentals.
     The last time the Nikkei ended above the 16,000 mark was Aug. 7. Investors drew sustenance from government pledges to bail out the nation's troubled banking sector and from previous hints by the Bank of Japan that it intends to stick to a loose monetary stance for now.
     "With the Dow about to test 10,000 again tonight, nobody wants to be underweighted if Hong Kong decides to join the Wall Street party," a Hong Kong-based trader told Reuters.
     On currency markets, the sudden en masse resignation of the European Commission amid allegations of fraud, mismanagement and cronyism sent shock waves through euro-trading.
     Europe's new single currency lost a cent against the dollar, falling to near-record lows just above $1.08 and triggering a rash of safe-haven buying in currencies outside the euro zone such as the Swiss franc and pound sterling. The currency subsequently staged a modest rebound, but remained below $1.09.
     In Sydney, Australia's All Ordinaries closed at a record high for the fourth straight session, edging within a whisker of the psychologically significant 3,000 milestone. The benchmark index crawled up 0.09 percent to 2,992.2 amid robust corporate earnings.
     Over the past week, the All Ordinaries has risen 2.5 percent, or 72 points.
     Singapore shares were mostly flat in late trade, with the Straits Times index slipping 0.31 percent, or 4.65 points, to 1,489.54. Also in the minus column, Kuala Lumpur shed more than 1 percent, the day after worse-than-expected industrial data dampened any enthusiasm generated by the ruling coalition's victory in regional elections in Sabah state.
     Philippine shares got a residual lift from Monday's central bank rate cut, traders told Reuters, to end more than 2 percent higher at 1,981.84. Taiwan's weighted index added 1.12 percent, while Korea stocks gained 1.66 percent to 601.83 and Jakarta stocks advanced 1.92 percent.
     But Thai stocks gave up 1.64 percent as investors locked in gains largely in the banking and finance sectors after a previous session rally. Monday's strong showing had been sparked by the Senate's passage of a package of economic measures, including a tough bankruptcy bill.
     On the corporate front, French carmaker Renault (PRNO) is expected Tuesday to unveil a one-third-stake in Japanese rival Nissan Motor Co. worth an estimated 400 billion yen ($3.37 billion), The Wall Street Journal reported. Renault became the top bidder for Nissan after U.S.-German giant DaimlerChrysler abruptly called off talks with Nissan earlier this month.Back to top
     --from staff and wire reports

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.