17 November 2005, 11:22  Japanese stocks gain in early Thursday trading, dollar higher

Japanese stocks made small gains early Thursday on a rise of Nikkei futures overnight that was offset by a mixed session on Wall Street. The dollar edged up against the yen. The Nikkei 225 index added 21.91 points, or 0.15 percent, to hit 14,192.78 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at Thursday's open. The broader TOPIX, which includes all issues on the exchange's first section, gained 1.80 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,488.14. A 130-point gain in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's December Nikkei futures contracts to 14,205 spurred the early gains in Tokyo, but these were tempered by continued pre-market net sell orders via foreign brokerages and a continued sense that the market is overheated. Wall Street provided little direction with an erratic session Wednesday as General Motors Corp. hit an 18-year low, dragging down the Dow Jones industrial average. Rising oil prices also dulled investor enthusiasm. The price of crude overshadowed a government report of moderating inflation that initially gave stocks a modest lift. Oil futures settled at US$57.88 a barrel, up 90 U.S. cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a sharp change from the four-month low they reached Tuesday. Wednesday's government petroleum inventory numbers were weaker then expected. GM fell US$1.32 to US$21.29 as concerns mounted about problems at its top supplier, Delphi Corp. and worries about the company's ability to turn around its performance. Leaders of the United Auto Workers said the union and Delphi remain far apart on a new labor agreement and fears of a strike have spooked investors. The Dow fell 11.68, or 0.11 percent, to 10,674.76. In Tokyo currency trading Thursday, the dollar bought 119.12 yen on the Tokyo foreign exchange market at 9 a.m., up 0.02 yen from late Wednesday in New York. The euro climbed to US$1.679 from US$1.1673 late Wednesday in New York. The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond fell to 1.4900 percent against Wednesday's close of 1.5000 percent. Its price rose 0.08 points to 100.08.

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