While Tokyo share prices have remained at a depressed level in recent weeks, the stock market could bottom out for the second time in a span of three months or so, a situation that is often followed by a strong rebound.

Having fallen to a year-to-date low of 11,433 on March 15, the 225-issue Nikkei average soon turned higher, but much of the uptrend has since run out of steam.

The key market gauge appears poised to hit another bottom later this month.

This double-bottom phenomena and subsequent rebound was seen previously on Oct. 9, 1998, and on Jan. 5, 1999.

As always, investors are keeping a close eye on developments on Wall Street, trying to obtain a clue to future movements of the Tokyo market.

For the Tokyo stock market to stage a strong rebound, New York share prices must turn steadily higher, enticing individual investors to move in.

The market must also write off key downside factors and the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi must maintain a high public approval rating.

Although worries remain about U.S. economic prospects, the New York market reacted favorably to Intel Corp.’s announcement late last week that the bellwether high-tech company expects to meet its earnings forecasts.

Bleak earnings prospects for U.S. companies for the April-June quarter have apparently largely been factored into share prices and the New York market is now beginning to count on growing optimism about forthcoming earnings projections.

It is encouraging to note that individual investors are gearing up for increased purchases on the Tokyo market.

Their net purchases hit 117.4 billion yen in the final week of last month, the highest in about a year.

A bill is expected to clear the Diet shortly for introduction of new pension schemes similar to the U.S. 401(k) plans, which will no doubt provide a major lift to the flow of money into the market.

The reported 0.2 percent fall in gross domestic product in the first quarter did not rattle the market because it was well within the range of expectations.

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