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May 15, 2006    

Exporters lead Tokyo lower again

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by Elaine Frei

Tokyo equities markets were down on Monday as export-dependent sectors continued to be hurt by the yen’s strength in relation to the US dollar. The Nikkei 225 declined by 0.7 percent to 16,486.91, while the Topix index lost 0.4 percent to 1,681.81. Also contributing to the day’s declines were sharp drops on Wall Street last Friday.

The automobile manufacturing sector was down on the day. Toyota’s shares fell for the sixth trading day in a row, dropping 1.9 percent to ¥6,250. Banc of America Securities cut its rating on Toyota’s US-listed shares from “buy” to “neutral” on Friday and criticized the carmaker’s ability to expand as much as it needs to. Elsewhere in the sector, Nissan declined by 1.7 percent to ¥1,428, while Honda was down 1.2 percent to ¥7,760.

Camera-maker Canon, also dependent on exports, was down 3.5 percent on the day to ¥8,370. Meanwhile, in the electronics sector, Toshiba dropped 1.7 percent to ¥735.

Softbank was the most actively traded stock on the day, helped by reports that it is joining with Apple Computer to develop a mobile phone with a built-in iPod player. Shares in Softbank were up 2.6 percent to ¥3,000.

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