Japan Stocks Edge Down After Recent Rally; Honda Falls After CEO Switch

Japanese stocks nosed lower in early Tuesday trade, with investors taking some money off the table after a string of fresh 15-year highs for the market. The Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.1% a few minutes into trade, with a 0.2% loss for the broader Topix. Honda Motor Co. was in the spotlight after replacing its chief executive in the wake of large recalls at the auto maker. Honda shaes were down 1.8%, though with the yen sitting higher (dollar at �118.92 vs. �119.23 at the previous stock close), rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. fell 1.6% and 1.8%, respectively, though Toyota Motor Corp. rose 0.3%. News reports also moved select shares, with Hitachi Ltd. off 0.4% as a Nikkei news item said the company planned to buy the railway assets of Italy's Finmeccanica SpA for more than $2 billion -- a deal which the company had said was possible when it reported earnings last October. A separate Nikkei report that Casio Computer Co. plans to expand production of its high-end wristwatches may have helped the share's 2.3% rise in early trading. Meanwhile, Fast Retailing Co. rose 1.4%, adding to gains from the previous session following a Macquarie upgrade for the shares to neutral from underweight. Among other movers, Panasonic Corp. fell 1.2%, Olympus Corp. lost 1.4%, Sony Corp. rose 0.4%, and Skymark Airlines Inc. jumped 5.9% on yet another Nikkei report, this one saying various foreign and domestic airlines were looking at helping the bankrupt airline while eyeing the budget carrier's 36 valuable takeoff and landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

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