LOS ANGELES – With the yen holding on to its gains and investors cautious as earnings season kicks off, Japanese stocks slid lower Friday after closing the previous day with some late-session gains. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.9% to 14,358.28, with the Topix down 0.8%, as the dollar bought 97.36 yen, little changed from 24 hours earlier. The relatively strong yen weighed on some names with high global exposure, as Sharp Corp. lost 1%, Pioneer Corp. dropped 1.6%, and Bridgestone Corp. fell 1.2%. An outlook cut from Canon Inc. helped send its shares down 1%, while rival Nikon Corp. lost 1.8%, though Olympus Corp. gained 1%. Telecoms were weak, with Softbank Corp. falling 2.5%, KDDI Corp. down 1.7%, and NTT DoCoMo Inc. off 1.1% as a Nikkei business daily report said it would post a mild rise in operating profit for the previous quarter. Among the top gainers, Hitachi Construction Macheriny Co. rallied 3.4% on a separate Nikkei report that the company will post a first-half operating profit well above the consensus estimate, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp. climbed 4.2% after hiking its fiscal-year profit outlook by 40%. The market appeared to show little reaction to consumer inflation data out just ahead of the open, which printed in line with expectations.
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