Japanese stocks started with slim gains Monday and grew them to 0.3% advances for both the Nikkei Stock Average and the broader Topix. Utilities and tech/electronics shares were among the strong links in the advance, with Hokkaido Electric Power Co. up 1.8%, Tokyo Electric Power Co. up 1%, Olympus Corp. up 2.2%, Pioneer Corp. up 2.7% (to reverse its weakness on Friday), NEC Corp. up 1.1%, and Yahoo Japan Corp. up 1.6%. With the yen a touch softer (dollar buying �101.40 vs. �101.30 at the previous session's open), autos also traded mostly firmer, with Nissan Motor Co. up 1%, Honda Motor Co. up 0.8%, and Toyota Motor Corp. up 0.5%. And telecoms also gained ground, as Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. added to recent gains with a 1.4% rise, while NTT DoCoMo Inc. , Softbank Corp. and KDDI Corp. each improved by 0.6%. Real-estate names were mostly lower, however, as Mitsui Fudosan Co. and Mitsubishi Estate Co. traded down 0.7% each, and Sumitomo Realty & Development Co. lost 1.4%. Shares of Asahi Glass Co. fell 0.9% after a Nikkei news report that it would likely miss its first-half profit forecasts due to price competition in the LCD-television arena.

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