Tokyo markets lower

| April 17, 2006

The Tokyo equities markets were lower on Monday, with the Nikkei 225 and the Topix index each dropping 1.4 percent to 17,000.36 and 1,719.05 respectively. Worries over higher interest rates and rising crude oil prices were the culprits in the declines.

Export-dependent companies saw share prices drop as investors worried that US consumers would have less disposable income to spend. Automobile manufacturers were hit especially hard, with Toyota losing 1.3 percent to ¥6,650 and Honda losing 1.2 percent to ¥7,630. Among other exporters, Canon, the largest manufacturer of digital cameras in the world, dropped 0.6 percent to ¥8,250.

Domestic companies were also down on the day on concerns that the Bank of Japan might raise interest rates in order to support government bond yields. Among banks, Mitsubishi UFJ was down 1.1 percent to ¥1.82 million, while Mizuho dropped 2.8 percent to ¥972,000.

Non-bank lenders were also lower on the day. Consumer finance company Aiful dropped 6.8 percent to ¥6,710 after it was forced by government regulators to suspend business for three days due to aggressive collections methods. Other consumer finance companies also lost value, with Acom declining by 3.9 percent to ¥6,590, while Takefuji was down 2.7 percent to ¥7,350.


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