Around the World's Markets: Tokyo

JAPANESE SHARES fell yesterday as domestic investors took profits ahead of the end of the fiscal year on 31 March. The Nikkei index closed down 359.68 points, or 2.2 per cent, at 16,019.10.

Dealers said that the fall had been sparked by a round of selling by institutions and companies, eager to boost their balance sheets before the end of the fiscal year. A number of Japanese blue-chips are believed to have unwound their cross-shareholdings in an attempt to flatter performance.