PROFIT TAKERS PUSH DOLLAR DOWN AGAINST YEN

PROFIT TAKERS PUSH DOLLAR DOWN AGAINST YEN

* Noon Thursday - The U.S. dollar slid on profit-taking at midday Thursday, after rising to a three-month high of 134.09 yen in Tokyo following a very disappointing ''tankan'' survey of Japanese business sentiment and a plunge in the Tokyo stock market.

The market remained on guard for possible Bank of Japan intervention to support the yen.The Nikkei stock average fell 538.76 points to 15,702.90, its lowest closing level since Jan. 14.

The dollar rose to a seven-month high of 1.8560 Deutsche marks, but has eased back amid talk of a European central bank selling.

Trading was restrained ahead of Friday's U.S. employment report for March.

U.S. factory orders dropped 0.9 percent in February, led by a plunge in orders for aircraft and parts. It was the second decline in the last three months and was close to the 0.8 percent drop projected by analysts.

Excluding transportation, orders were up 0.2 percent. February durable goods orders fell a revised 1.1 percent. Factory inventories rose 0.5 percent.

The dollar was trading at 133.44 yen, down from 133.68 yen late Wednesday, and at 1.8505 Deutsche marks, down from DM1.8530.

* 9 a.m. Thursday - The dollar rose to a three-month high of 134.09 yen Thursday morning following a very disappointing ''tankan'' survey of Japanese business sentiment. The dollar slipped off its high, however, amid fear of Bank of Japan intervention to support the yen.

Japan's Sony Corp. chief Nohrio Ohkga launched a blistering attack on his country's leaders Thursday, warning the economy was close to collapse and could trigger a world recession.

Deputy finance ministers will meet in Washington next week to discuss foreign exchange, Japan and Asia ahead of the mid-April Group of 7 meeting, according to Kyodo news service.

The German Constitutional Court decided not to hear the case against German participation in European monetary union brought by four German economic professors. The decision, however, is not unexpected given the Bundesbank's backing for EMU in its report last week.

New claims for U.S. state unemployment insurance benefits fell 5,000 to 309,000 during the week ended March 28, the Labor Department said.

* 3 p.m. Wednesday - The dollar rose Wednesday on widespread bullish sentiment in the market, but it slipped on afternoon profit-taking.

There is no immediate fear of Bank of Japan intervention. Traders think the Japanese central bank would be unsuccessful in changing market direction overnight, but that it may have a fair chance after the dollar's rally exhausts itself around 135 yen.