Japanese stocks held to their winning ways in early Thursday action, with the Nikkei Average sporting a 0.5% gain to add to its 0.4% advance the previous day, while the broader Topix shifted 0.4% higher. Earnings moved the markets, as shares in Toyota Motor Corp. rose 1.4% after the auto maker posted a forecast-beating profit and projected its annual net profit at 2 trillion yen ($17 billion), which according to the Nikkei Asian Review would make it the first public Japanese company to hit that figure. Stock in online retailer Rakuten Inc. surged more than 12% on the back of its 16% gain in nine-month net profit. And among the smaller names, soy-sauce maker Kikkoman Corp. rose 1.1% as the market signaled approval of its earnings and forward guidance. Meanwhile, further gains for the U.S. dollar against the yen -- rising to �114.65 less than 24 hours after decisively breaching the �114 mark -- shepherded some blue-chip exporters to solid advances, with Fujitsu Ltd. up 2.6%, robot maker Fanuc Corp. improving by 1.3%, Sharp Corp. climbing 1.7%, and globally exposed telecom Softbank Corp. ahead by 1.4% after a 2.3% drop in the previous session due to weakness in its U.S.-listed subsidiary Sprint Corp.
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