Japan Stocks Gain Early, With Financials On The Move

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks shuffled higher in early Thursday transactions, with financial shares on the rise after Greece approved new austerity measures needed to secure fresh rescue funds. The Nikkei Average and Topix were up 0.4% apiece, though off their opening highs, with Mizuho Financial Group Inc. up 1%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. up 0.8%, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. up 0.6%. The yen weakened overnight, with the dollar at �123.90 after spending the previous session in the mid-�123 range, though the big exporters were broadly mixed. TDK Corp. rose 1.1%, Kyocera Corp. added 1.2%, and Toyota Motor Corp. improved by 1.7%. However, Nissan Motor Co. edged 0.2% lower as the Associated Press reported the auto maker was recalling approximately 270,000 vehicles globally due to issues with the ignition, while continued worries about the extent of Toshiba Corp.'s accounting scandal helped to push that stock 2.3% lower. Recent gainers Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. also lost ground, down 0.2% and 1.9%, respectively. Meanwhile, a heavy drop for crude-oil futures tormented the energy stocks, with Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. down 1.5%, Inpex Corp. off 2%, and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. lower by 1.6%.

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