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JAPANESE BANK HELPS APPLY THE BRAKES TO DOLLAR'S SLIDE

Japan's central bank intervened heavily in the currency market Monday to stop the slide of the dollar below the 80-yen mark.

At 3 p.m., the dollar was at 82.94 yen, down 1.26 yen from late Friday. It had briefly hit 80.15 yen, its lowest level since modern exchange rates were established in the late 1940s.The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 443.59 points, or 2.82 percent, closing the day at 16,163.09. On Friday, the index had fallen 96.37 points, or 0.61 percent.

Traders described the morning session as panicky, as the dollar lost 5 percent of its value in a 90-minute sell-off. Japan's central bank stepped in and bought dollars heavily, they said.

The new high in the yen's value left Japanese business and government leaders flustered. Finance Minister Masayoshi Takemura suggested that the floating exchange rate system needs to be re-evaluated.

The United States must clarify whether it intends to defend its currency, the Kyodo News Service quoted him as saying.

The Tokyo Stock Price Index of all issues listed on the first section was up 23.84 points, or 9.76 percent, to 1,292.68. The TOPIX had fallen 5.59 points, or 0.44 percent, on Friday.

The price of the benchmark No. 175 10-year Japanese government bonds stood at 107.47 yen, down from Friday's finish of 108.24. Their yield rose by 0.10 percentage point to 3.540 percent.