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News > International
Nikkei leads Asia markets
April 3, 2000: 5:21 a.m. ET

Tankan survey, BOJ action lift Tokyo; telecoms hit Hang Seng, Singapore
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed nearly 2 percent higher Monday following an upbeat economic report and currency market intervention by the Bank of Japan. Markets in Hong Kong and Singapore slumped amid weakness in the telecommunications and software sectors.
    Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 389.67 points, or 1.9 percent, to 20,726.99 after a government "tankan" survey of business confidence showed Japanese businessmen, for the fifth straight quarter, are increasingly optimistic about the economic picture at home.
    Investors focused on the report even as Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, a proponent of aggressive economic reform, went into a coma Monday after suffering a stroke. Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki was named acting prime minister.
    "I suppose the market should've shown some respect to the Prime Minister, but expectations that demand for equities will rise in April and the year ahead are quite strong," said strategist Hitoshi Ichio at Tokyo's Commerz Securities.
    Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index closed down 2.95 percent at 16,892.93, as investors took shelter from high-technology shares after talks between Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) and the U.S. government to settle an antitrust lawsuit against the company fell apart over the weekend.
    Singapore's Straits Times fell 2.9 percent to 2,071.68 amid weakness in telecom and financial services sectors.
    U.S. markets were mixed Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down 58.33 points to 10,921.92 while the Nasdaq composite index rose 114.94 points to 4,572.83, ended a bruising four-day losing streak. The S&P 500 index rose 10.66 to 1,498.58.
    
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    In currency markets, the yen retreated sharply against the dollar after the Bank of Japan was reported to have stepped in to buy the U.S. currency, which had fallen in recent trading. The dollar traded at ¥105.02 Monday, after rising to ¥102.43 yen in U.S. trading Friday.
    The euro was little changed against the dollar, trading at 95.16 cents.
    
Japanese techs, banks head higher

    In Tokyo, two major Japanese banks rallied while Internet stocks headed lower. Sumitomo Bank jumped 6.3 percent and Sanwa Bank Ltd. added 3.8 percent.
    Shares of technology-related exporters climbed after the BOJ's intervention to trim the value of the yen. A weaker yen means that overseas customers can buy Japanese goods more cheaply.
    Among the companies rising were Toshiba, up 2.5 percent, Hitachi gaining 5.3 percent and Sony Corp., which got an upgrade from Warburg Dillon Read to "strong buy" from "buy," climbing 3.5 percent.
    And the "tankan" survey, suggesting that corporate capital investment may be on the upswing again, offered a prod to some of the major players in Japan's heavy industry sector. In addition, investors have been moving out of the more volatile Internet stocks into traditional blue-chip holdings.
    Nonferrous metal smelter Mitsubishi Materials climbed 11.7 percent, steel maker NKK Corp. climbed 6.1 percent, and Nippon Steel Corp. tacked on 4.9 percent.
    
Tech stocks out of favor

    In Singapore, Pacific Century Regional Development tumbled 13.4 percent, weighed down by Hong Kong-based Internet subsidiary Pacific Century Cyberworks, which slid 7.7 percent.
    Shares of HSBC Holdings fell 3.8 percent in Hong Kong after the global banking giant announced plans to buy France's CCF for at least $10.6 billion in cash and stock.
    In Singapore, Singapore Telecommunications fell 4.5 percent to a new 13-month low amid liberalization of the telecommunications sector and SingTel's decision to cut international call rates - suggesting the operator may be facing a price war.
    Among smaller markets, the Set 50 in Bangkok fell 0.9 percent to 399.41, marked by selling in the retail sector despite a report by the ratings service Moody's that it was considering an upgrade of Thailand's debt.
    Taiwan's TAIEX index, one of the year's best performers, rose another 2 percent 10,050.43, and Sydney's All Ordinaries ended up 1.83 percent to 3,190.6, with mining and resources stocks leading the market higher.
    Manila's PHS Composite closed up 0.23 percent at 1,701.08.
    In Seoul, weakness in telecom issues also knocked the Kospi index down 1.78 percent at 846.44. In Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur's KLSE Composite lost one percent and the JSX index in Jakarta slipped 2.8 percent. 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.