LOS ANGELES – A rising Japanese yen and weak results from Caterpillar Inc. overnight sent Tokyo-listed shares lower in early Thursday trade, with the Nikkei Stock Average falling 0.4% to 14,363.59, while the Topix also lost 0.4%. With the U.S. dollar remaining below the 98-yen level amid concerns about the health of China's largest banks, some currency-sensitive shares extended their losses after driving the Nikkei Average down 2% in the previous session. Among them, trading house Mitsui & Co. fell 1.3%, retail major J. Front Retailing Co. lost 1.2%, auto maker Nissan Motor Co. retreated 0.6%, and Fujitsu Ltd. traded 1% lower. The below-forecast quarterly results and outlook cut from U.S. construction-equipment maker Caterpillar sent its Japanese rivals tumbling, with Komatsu Ltd. dropping 3.5% and Hitachi Construction Macheriny Co. falling 3.1%. On the upside, Hitachi Ltd. soared 5.4% after raising its profit and revenue guidance for the fiscal first half, while Panasonic Corp. rose a more modest 0.5% after the Nikkei business daily said the company planned to halve its chip-making staff and may sell some of its chip plants.
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