LOS ANGELES – Stocks in Japan lost ground early Friday, with a weaker lead from Wall Street as financial stocks declined, and as the U.S. dollar declined against the yen. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.5% to 15,655.50, and the broader Topix slipped 0.2%. Panasonic Corp. shares were down 1.5% following a Nikkei newspaper report the company will sell three chip-production facilities in Southeast Asia to Singapore's United Test and Assembly Center. The move would continue Panasonic's efforts to shed unprofitable units. Retailing issues were also among session decliners, with Fast Retailing Co. and FamilyMart Co. shares each losing 1.2%.
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