Japan Stocks Fall As Yen Rises, But Sony Trades Higher

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks opened sharply lower Monday, with European-exposed shares seeing particularly strong losses as the euro fell following the projected Greek election victory of an anti-austerity party that raises concerns about Greece remaining in the eurozone. The Nikkei Average was down 0.6% in early moves, though off an opening drop of 1.3%, while the Topix also lost 0.6%. The euro fell to �131.66 from Friday's �132.45 -- though off an intraday low of �130.15 -- while the dollar bought �117.72, below its �118.05 level at Friday's Tokyo stock close. Amid this forex environment, Nikon Corp. fell 2.1%, Honda Motor Co. lost 2.2%, and Mazda Motor Corp. -- among the most sensitive to the euro -- dropped 3.9%. Losses for Toyota Motor Corp. were more contained, with its shares down 0.4%, as a Nikkei news report said it would beat current guidance on its profit for the fiscal year ending in March. On the upside, Sony Corp. rose 0.7% even after saying Friday it would need to delay its quarterly earnings report -- originally slated for Feb. 4 -- due to the cyberattack on its Sony Pictures unit. Stock in Japan Display Inc. rallied 3.3%, and while reasons for the move weren't immediately apparent, the gain followed a Jiji News report that panel-maker Joled Inc. might seek business integration with Japan Display. December trade data out ahead of the market open, showing better-than-expected growth for exports, had little immediate impact on stocks.

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