Japan Stocks Start Week Higher, But Sony Pulls Back

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Japanese stocks advanced early Monday, with modest gains for some of the globally exposed blue chips helping lift the 225-issue Nikkei Average by 0.3% and the Topix up by 0.2%. As the dollar held above the 120-yen level, TDK Corp. added 0.5%, Sharp Corp. rose 0.7%, Advantest Corp. improved by 1%, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Fast Retailing Co. each gained 0.8%, and Toyota Motor Corp. traded 0.4% higher, even as Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. lost 0.1% apiece. Shares of Sony Corp. fell 0.7% after reporting online revenue of more than $15 million for its comedy "The Interview," even as traditional box-office receipts totaled less than $3 million between Thursday and Sunday. The Tokyo market also reacted to the Cabinet's passage of almost $30 billion in stimulus. While the package includes measures to bolster smaller businesses hurt by the falling yen, it also contains public works projects for rebuilding disaster-hit areas. Construction-company shares trended higher early Monday, with Obayashi Corp. up 1%, and Kajima Corp. gaining 0.6%. Weak energy prices appeared to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. (up 2.9%) and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. (up 0.9%), but Kansai Electric Power Co. underpeformed many of the other utilities, up just 0.1%, as the Nikkei reported Kansai was in partnership talks with Tokyo Gas Co. . Stock in Tokyo Gas traded 0.9% higher.

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