LOS ANGELES – Japanese stocks gave ground early Monday, responding to a mixed bag of earnings, a downbeat lead from the U.S. and the yen trading slightly higher than at Friday's Tokyo close. The Nikkei Stock Average pulled back 1.2% to 14,730.86, with the Topix down 1%, as the dollar bought �102.27, compared to around �102.50 around the previous session's close. Auto makers were mostly retreating, with Toyota Motor Corp. losing 0.6%, Mazda Motor Corp. off 2.2%, and Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. dropping 2.5%. Honda Motor Co. improved by 0.3%, however, after its October-December profit more than doubled, thanks to strong sales. Among other blue-chip exporters, Sony Corp. fell 1.4%, Advantest Corp. gave up 2.5%, and TDK Corp. tumbled 7.3% despite posting strong gains for quarterly profit and sales. Likewise, NTT DoCoMo Inc. fell 1.7% after recording a drop in revenue for the April-December period, and Japan Airlines Co. also moved 1.4% lower despite hiking its profit forecast for the current fiscal year ending in March. On the upside, Nippon Yusen K.K. rose 3.1% after its nine-month profit grew by almost nine-fold.
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