Japan Stocks Follow U.S. Cue To Rally; Nintendo Drops On President's Death

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks rallied in early Monday action, enjoying some uplift from Friday's strong gains in the U.S., where many Japanese blue chips have listings, while the currency environment remained benign. The Nikkei Average was up 0.9% about half an hour into the session, wiping away the benchmark's 0.4% loss on Friday, while the broader Topix outperformed with a 1.2% advance. The dollar was holding back above the �122 handle (at �122.57), and the euro was buying �136.49, not too far from the upper �136 range seen at the end of the previous week, despite further uncertainty about Greece. Against this background, some of the top exporters saw sharp gains, with Panasonic Corp. up 2.4%, Sharp Corp. up 3.5%, Toyota Motor Corp. up 1.8%, and Sony Corp. jumping 4.9%, though its videogame rival Nintendo Co. vacated early gains to fall 0.6% after news its president Satoru Iwata was dead of cancer at age 55. Shares of Sapporo Holdings Ltd. improved by 2.2% as a Nikkei news preview of its earnings tipped a first-half profit for the company, even as sluggish domestic beer sales likely prompted an operating loss for the period. On the downside, however, Toshiba Corp. fell 1.3% as Kyodo News and others reported the company's accounting scandal may be larger than previously believed and that its president would likely resign over the matter.

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