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Market Scramble: Bargain hunters missing out on action

TOKYO -- The stock market here is expected to heat up as the Japanese fiscal year ends this month, yet the trading volume at Tokyo's main index hardly budged Thursday. So what happened to all the buyers -- especially the bargain hunters?

     "To say that foreign buying was sluggish because of market holidays this week in the West would just be an ancillary reason," said a trader working for a major Japanese brokerage. "There was little appetite to buy to begin with." Foreigners sold nearly 1.2 trillion yen ($10.6 billion) on a net basis during the five days ending March 11, a new record. However, long-term investors are currently sitting on their hands, along with hedge funds and other short-term traders.

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