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LEAD: Tokyo stocks open sharply lower after N.Y. shares plunge+
[January 22, 2006]

LEAD: Tokyo stocks open sharply lower after N.Y. shares plunge+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)TOKYO, Jan. 23_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: EXPANDING)

Stocks opened sharply lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday after New York stocks suffered the largest fall in two years and 10 months Friday amid renewed concern about major U.S. companies' earnings outlooks as well as the continued surge in oil prices.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 304.14 points, or 1.94 percent, to 15,392.55. The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index of all First Section issues dropped 34.55 points, or 2.13 percent, to 1,589.84. The Second Section also fell.

Tokyo stocks staged a weak start in a wide range of shares, with brokerage, high-tech, real estate and nonferrous metal issues particularly facing heavy selling pressure.

In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 213.32 points, or 1.96 percent, to 10,667.39, slipping below the 10,700 line for the first time in about two months.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index fell 54.11 points, or 2.35 percent, to 2,247.70.

On Friday, the Nikkei was almost unchanged at 15,696.69, up 0.41 point, or 0.00 percent. The TOPIX was up 4.10 points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,624.39.

As of Monday, the TSE will halt all trading if the number of trade transactions reaches 4.5 million, instead of the previous 4 million.

The change is part of the bourse's emergency measures to deal with a recent surge in transactions that came after a series of scandals involving Livedoor Co.

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