Tokyo market rising despite negative signs

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The Tokyo stock market is refusing to take a breather, shrugging off worries about a raft of unnerving developments both at home and abroad.

The market’s leading concerns — selloffs of information and communications issues and the sudden shift in power at home — have gone largely unheeded.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index has tumbled repeatedly on Wall Street in recent months, sending Hikari Tsushin, Softbank and other information and technology issues reeling in the Tokyo market as well.

Still, the Tokyo market opened the new fiscal year on an upbeat note, with the benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average staying well above the psychologically important 20,000 level.

The key market gauge appears poised to test the 22,000 level this summer, which it has not done since July 1996.

Viewed from a longer perspective, the corrections that New York shares have come through are a positive development for the U.S. economy.

The downturn in the high-flying shares has helped keep the U.S. economy from overheating and eased upward pressure on interest rates.

The yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond fell below the 5.7 percent level Monday for the first time in 11 months.

The Tokyo market is catching wind of a surprisingly robust stream of corporate earnings reports on the January-March quarter, due out next week and beyond.

There appears a good chance the long-battered information and communications issues will rebound soon.

The listing of potentially promising issues set for late this month could prompt investors to shift their attention to undercapitalized growth-oriented issues.

The market has reacted calmly to the appointment of Yoshiro Mori to succeed the ailing Keizo Obuchi as prime minister.

With an eye on the imminent dissolution of the Lower House, many investors could step up purchases in search of quick profits.

The uptrend in share prices could then gather momentum, riding on a growing wave of buying by individual investors.

Attention is focusing on an anticipated switch away from the government-run postal savings system and into the stock market.