Japan Stocks Follow U.S. Dollar Higher; Rakuten Drops On Dilution Concerns

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Japanese stocks bumped higher in early Thursday trading, thanks in part to a turn back downward for the yen, and possibly the positive lead from the U.S. markets. The Nikkei Average was 0.4% higher in initial moves, with a 0.2% gain for the Topix , as the dollar bought �124.38, rebounding from the �123.85 recorded at the previous day's Tokyo stock close. Among the big global names, Sony Corp. was up 0.6%, Fujitsu Ltd. rose 1.1%, Nissan Motor Co. improved by 1.4%, and Fast Retailing Co. gained 0.7%. Shares of Softbank Corp. firmed by 0.7% after saying it would buy a $1 billion stake in Forward Ventures, a company that runs the popular South Korean shopping website Coupang, with many press reports comparing the deal to Softbank's earlier investment in Alibaba Group . A Nikkei news report that Asahi Diamond Industrial Co. planned to return a hefty 80% of its fiscal-year net profit to investors sent shares of the high-tech tool maker up 3.4%. On the downside, ecommerce major Rakuten Inc. fell 4.6% as a separate Nikkei report said the company planned to sell about $1.6 billion worth of new shares to fund future acquisitions and investments.

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