Japan Blue-chip Stocks Trudge Lower In Early Moves

MarketWatch Pulse

Japan stocks started on a weak note Tuesday, with the Nikkei Average down 0.2% as a rebound in the yen had the U.S. dollar at �108.88, down from �109.39 at the previous close. The broader Topix was 0.2% higher, however, putting the retreat at the feet of the blue chips. Among the decliners, Sony Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. lost 0.6% each, Fuji Electric Co. fell 1.4%, Japan Display Inc. traded 1.2% lower, and Toshiba Corp. dropped 2.2%, possibly influenced in part by weaker-than-expected third-qaurter profit guidance from fellow flash-memory maker Samsung Electronics Co. , released just before the open. On the upside, NTT DoCoMo Inc. added 0.6%, and its parent Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. was up 1.8% -- while there was no obvious catalyst for the move, the advance coincided with a Nikkei news report saying Docomo was partnering with two smaller companies to develop translation programs. Shares of the top banks also improved ahead of a Bank of Japan policy decision due later in the day, with most economists expecting no further easing to be announced. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. rose 0.8% each, while Mizuho Financial Group Inc. climbed 0.5%. Among the techs, Fujitsu Ltd. added to its recent gains with a 1.7% rise, while TDK Corp. was up 0.2% as the Nikkei reported it had developed technology to more than double the memory capacity of hard-disk drives.

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