Japanese stocks took another ride on the upside in early Thursday trading, with the Nikkei Average improving by 1% to set a new post-financial-crisis high, and the Topix up 0.9%, as the dollar moved tantalizingly close to the �120 level. Dollar-yen was quoted at �119.88 early in the Tokyo session, up from �119.18 a day earlier. Forecasts for the currency differed, with some analysts tipping a move above the �124 handle, last hit in June 2007. Globally exposed names, which get substantially higher profits as the yen falls, led the Thursday gains: Casio Computer Co. jumped 3.4%, Tokyo Electron Ltd. rallied 3.5%, Fanuc Corp. rose 1.8%, and Honda Motor Co. added 1.5% despite announcing it was expanding a recall related to faulty air bags. Takata Corp. , which makes the air bags in question, fell 1.6%. Airlines got another lift from weaker oil prices (Japan Airlines Co. up 2.5%, Skymark Airlines Inc. up 1.4%), while Softbank Corp. underperformed as reports said it was set to pay $250 million for an investment in a Singapore taxi-booking-app maker. Softbank shares are down 1.8% for the week so far, also seeing some resistance as its U.S. subsidiary Sprint Corp. offered a large discount promotion to lure subscribers from two main rivals amid what some see as a price war among the U.S. telecoms.
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