Japan Stocks Follow U.S. Peers Higher

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks trudged higher in early Tuesday trading, led to gains by a pullback for the yen and fresh record closes on Wall Street for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 . About 15 minutes into the session, the Nikkei Average was firmer by 0.4% at 19,967, bobbing just below the psychologically important 20,000 level, while the Topix added 0.3%. The dollar rebounded modestly against the yen overnight, improving to �119.94 compared to �119.67 at the previous Tokyo stock close. Against this backdrop, many of the major tech and industrial exporters floated higher, with Casio Computer Co. up 2.8%, TDK Corp. up 1.7%, Konica Minolta Inc. up 2%, and Bridgestone Corp. up 0.9%. Panasonic Corp. improved by 0.6%, as the company announced plans to ramp up its output of solar cells. On the other hand, Toshiba Corp. fell 0.9% to extend losses spurred by its accounting problems, while Sony Corp. eased 0.2%, Olympus Corp. lost 1%, and Honda Motor Co. retreated by 0.8%. A Nikkei news report that the banking unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. would invest in the rehabilitation of Skymark Airlines Inc. appeared to have little impact, with SMFG shares down 0.4%, while a separate report tipping strong earnings results for Japan's three major non-life insurers seemed to help Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings Inc. , up 0.8% each, but not MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. , which traded 0.4% lower. Shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. fell 1.1% in likely profit-taking after the shares rallied on the back on strong earnings and a share-buyback program.

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