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Tokyo stocks lose further ground


Stocks lost further ground on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday, dampened by selling on the back of lower Shanghai stocks and the stronger yen.

The 225-issue Nikkei average lost 93.84 points, or 0.54 percent, to end at 17,147.11. On Thursday, the key market gauge dropped 474.68 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues slumped 4.10 points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 1,402.45, after dropping 35.54 points the previous day.

The Nikkei average surged over 350 points at one point in the morning after Wall Street staged a sharp rally on rising oil prices.

The rise in oil prices eased excessive worries about the outlooks for oil-producing economies, brokers said.

In the afternoon, however, the key Japanese stock indexes gradually cut gains and fell into minus territory with investor sentiment hurt by a slide in Shanghai stocks, brokers said.

The Nikkei average briefly fell some 180 points, driven mainly by selling of export-oriented names as the yen firmed moderately against the dollar, brokers said.

Position-adjustment selling ballooned in the afternoon prior to the three-day holiday weekend in the United States, they said.

Investors could not step up purchases ahead of a series of Chinese economic indicators due out next week, including industrial production, retail sales and gross domestic product, an official at a midsize brokerage firm said.

In addition, lingering concerns over unstable oil prices overshadowed the stock market, although U.S. crude advanced on Thursday, brokers said.

“A steel fall in crude oil prices is considered a negative incentive amid a view that it would accelerate selling of Japanese stocks by foreign investors in oil-producing countries,” said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at K Asset Co.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,115 to 723 in the TSE’s first section, while 97 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 2.45 billion shares from Thursday’s 2.6 billion shares.

The yen’s appreciation dampened export-oriented automakers and technologies. Among them were Toyota and Nissan as well as Sony and Panasonic.

Also on the minus side were brokerage firm Nomura, Dai-ichi Life Insurance and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial.

On the other hand, Nikon shot up 2.05 percent as several foreign-affiliated securities firms have revised up their stock price targets on the camera maker.

Sharp rocketed 14.68 percent on a newspaper report Friday that Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry will raise its offer for the Japanese electronics maker.

Japan Airlines and rival ANA Holdings were buoyant on hopes that falling fuel costs will lift their earnings.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key March contract on the Nikkei average retreated 160 points to end at 17,150.