Japan Stocks Gain After Lower Open, With Sony Rallying

Japan stocks managed to get off the ground early Friday despite a lower open, but with volumes expected to be soft as many of the top global markets were closed for holiday. After starting the session 0.1% lower, the Nikkei Average swung to a 0.5% gain within 20 minutes of the open, while the Topix rose 0.3%. The dollar was relatively little changed, sitting at �119.72 versus its �119.65 level 24 hours earlier, but the news tape offered some trading cues. Among the auto makers, Honda Motor Co. was up 0.6% after posting an almost 15% gain in China sales for March, while shares of Nissan Motor Co. lost 0.4% after it said its own Chinese new-vehicle sales were down more than 5% from a year earlier, according to a Nikkei report. Toyota Motor Corp. underperformed with a 0.2% gain as a separate Nikkei news item said the company was planning to end its freeze on factory construction and set up new plants in China and Mexico. Tech shares saw more sizeable moves, with Sharp Corp. up 1.3% despite saying it had yet to discuss plans for a new capital injection from Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. , while Sony Corp. rallied 3.3% with the advance coinciding with Sony's purchase of patents from soon-to-shutter videogame-streaming company OnLive, according to CNET. Also on the rise, stock in Nippon Express Co. after a Nikkei report tipping the air-cargo company's operating profit to show a 20% rise for the just-ended fiscal year. On the shorter end of the stick, Seven & I Holdings Co. retreated 1.1% in the wake of its fiscal-year results and profit guidance. Stock in Softbank Corp. softened by 0.7%, and while the reason for the move wasn't immediately apparent, the decline followed comments from its listed U.S. subsidiary Sprint Corp. denying chatter it was investing in the new music-streaming platform Tidal.

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