New York share prices have taken a repeated battering of late, sending the Dow Jones average below 10,000 for the first time in more than two months.

An inflow of money into U.S. mutual funds has been on the decline after having topped $29 billion in March.

Individual investors remain sanguine, however, expecting the Dow to bottom out at around 9,600 shortly.

In Tokyo, share prices are getting increasingly sensitive to the release of fiscal 2001 corporate earnings reports.

The market reacted calmly to the ruling bloc’s defeats in Sunday’s Upper House by-election in Niigata and the Tokushima gubernatorial poll, which were accompanied by its victory in the Lower House by-election in Wakayama.

The falling public approval rating for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet has also gone largely unheeded in the market, while the recent upturn in foreign buying has drawn strong attention.

Indeed, with buying interest spreading along a broad front, over 100 stocks hit year-to-date highs last week.

Investors are counting on an Asian economic recovery and favorable corporate earnings prospects in Japan.

The market is looking for clues on whether the government is serious about tax breaks amid reports that Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa supported quick tax breaks at the meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy last week.

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