Japanese stocks declined into the new year Monday, with the Nikkei Stock Average returning from a five-day holiday to lose 1%, while the Topix retreated 1.2%. The Nikkei Average had lost 1.6% in its previous trading session, and global investors appeared cool toward Japan equities Monday, as Dow Jones Newswires reported 600,000 shares' worth of net sell orders for the six foreign brokerages it tracks ahead of the market open. While the dollar held above the 120-yen mark, the relative weakness in the Japanese currency failed to help many of the blue-chip exporters: Sony Corp. lost 1.6%, Nikon Corp. dropped 2.5%, Sharp Corp. retreated 2.2%, Nissan Motor Co. fell 2%, and Toyota Motor Corp. was down 1.1%. Shares of Panasonic Corp. gave up 1.2%, showing little obvious reaction to its plans to buy a majority of Singapore's RFNet Technologies, according to a Nikkei news report. Retailers also pulled back, with Aeon Co. and J. Front Retailing Co. down 0.7% each, and Fast Retailing Co. off 1.4% ahead of its latest earnings results. However, Takashimaya Co. managed to add 0.2%, with a separate Nikkei report saying Takashimaya was set to partner with a major Japanese hospital "to provide medical tourists with special shopping services and merchandise information."
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