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The balance of shares bought on credit rose for the second week in a row last week, with buying spreading to low- and medium-price stocks.

The combined balance of margin buying on the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya exchanges stood at 2.96 trillion yen Friday, up 17.28 billion yen from the week before, according to a weekly industry report.

The average value of the balance fell to 954 yen per share, the lowest this year, reflecting a switch from high-priced issues, notably information technology stocks — market favorites earlier in the year.

The average value remained below 1,000 yen for the third straight week.

The recent volatility in the IT sector prompted individual investors to switch to shares long neglected during market rallies earlier in the year, brokerage officials said.

Because many “old economy” shares remained mired at depressed prices, investors opted for them in search of potential gains, they said.

Selling pressure continued unabated last week, setting off waves of bargain hunting.

The balance of shares sold short, on the other hand, dropped for the first time in three weeks, indicating investors unwound their short-positions to cash in on profits.

The balance of short selling stood at 674.26 billion yen, down 26.75 billion yen, or 3.8 percent, from a week before.

The long-short ratio rose to 4.39 from 4.19 a week earlier in value and to 4.89 from 4.82 in volume.

With a rally attempt at the start of the week fizzling, the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average ended the week at 16,318.31, down 543.60, or 3.2 percent, from a week before.

Daily volume on the TSE’s first section averaged 725 million shares, down from 802 million the preceding week.