LOS ANGELES – Japanese stocks fell in early Monday trading, with investors returning from a long holiday to find the yen significantly firmer than when they went on break. The Nikkei Stock Average dropped 1.4% to 16,060.67, while the broader Topix traded 0.5% lower. With the dollar back below the 105-yen handle, most major exporters saw losses, as Sharp Corp. gave up 1.5%, Komatsu Ltd. fell 1.9%, and Advantest Corp. retreated 1.6%. Auto makers also lost ground, with Toyota Motor Corp. down 0.6% and Honda Motor Co. off 0.9% despite a Nikkei news report saying the firm was hiking its annual domestic-sales target more than 20% than that for the previous year. However, Nissan Motor Co. rose 1.4% after posting a increase of more than 10% in U.S. sales for December. Toshiba Corp. also bucked the downtrend, improving by 0.9% as a separate Nikkei report said it and South Korea's SK Hynix Inc. would beat out U.S. rival Micron Technology Inc. in production of next-generation memory chips, due out as early as fiscal 2016.
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