Japanese equities boogied higher in early Thursday trading, helped by broad strength for the dominant exporters as the yen remained at relatively low levels against the dollar (though not so much against the euro). The Nikkei Average was up 0.3% in initial trades, matching a 0.3% gain in the previous session, while the broader Topix improved by 0.4%. The dollar changed hands for �121.60, moderately higher than the �121.32 level at the previous Tokyo stock close, and this appeared to help many of the globally exposed names. These included Panasonic Corp. (up 1%), Nikon Corp. (up 1.6%), Murata Manufacturing Co. (up 1.5%) and telecom major Softbank Corp. (up 0.9%), though Sony Corp. retreated 0.9% to extend a recent string of losses after having risen more than 30% so far this year. On the other side of the forex coin, however, some of the companies with a large proportion of revenue coming from Europe suffered as the euro moved ever lower, briefly breaking below the �128 handle, with Mazda Motor Corp. for instance losing 2.2%. Among some of the other notable gainers, Fujitsu Ltd. rose 1.2% as a Nikkei news report said the company's free cash flow is set for a five-year record high in the upcoming fiscal year, "giving the company greater wherewithal for investments and shareholder rewards." And Tokyo-listed shares of Citigroup Inc. rallied 4.2% in apparent relief over news the bank had passed its Federal Reserve stress test. Meanwhile, separate Nikkei reports that auto makers Toyota Motor Corp. , Nissan Motor Co. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. were variously set to offer generous bonuses and pay raises this year didn't seem to impact the trio's shares much, with Toyota up 0.3%, Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy up 0.5%, and Nissan outperforming with a 0.9% gain.
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