Japanese stocks went from strength to strength early Thursday, with the Nikkei Average up another 0.4% after a 1.1% advance the previous day. The broader Topix rose 0.5%. Sony Corp. was in focus after it again raised its profit and revenue forecasts for the fiscal year ended in March, helping send its shares up 2.1%. Sony had announced the new forecasts late Wednesday, and its U.S.-listed shares surged 4.8% during the regular Wall Street session. Other tech majors, as well as the industrial exporters, got a kick out of a modestly weaker yen, with the dollar buying �119.98, up from �119.70 one day earlier. Among the notable gainers were Toshiba Corp. (up 1.4%), Nikon Corp. (up 3.2%), Sharp Corp. (up 2.3%), Nissan Motor Co. (up 1.3%) and Advantest Corp. (up 2.4%). A solid gain for Brent North Sea crude-oil futures, despite a decline for U.S.-traded Nymex crude, boosted the energy names, with Inpex Corp. up 3.3%, Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. up 1.9% and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. up 1.5%. Among the financials, Nomura Holdings Inc. and Daiwa Securities Group Inc. extended their recent gains by climbing 3.8% and 2.4%, respectively, even as many of the major banks traded lower amid apparant profit taking.
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