Japan Stocks Give Back After Record Close; Sony Up, Fanuc Down

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks eased back in early Thursday trading, with some apparent profit-taking a day after the market saw its highest close since 1996. With a weak session on Wall Street and a flat yen (dollar at �123.88, about where it was Wednesday), the Nikkei Average [JP:NIK] retreated 0.3%, and the Topix lost 0.4%, though both benchmarks were off their early lows. While a few blue chips tacked on additional gains (Sony Corp. up 0.5%, Nikon Corp. up 1.8%, Fast Retailing Co. up 0.9%), many shares gave back some of their recent advances (Panasonic Corp. down 0.3%, Toyota Motor Corp. down 0.8%, Nissan Motor Co. down 0.9%). Shares of auto-parts maker Takata Corp. rose 0.4% as the company held its annual meeting, despite an expanded South Korean recall tied to its faulty airbags and news that Fiat Chrysler was switching away from the Takata airbags. Meanwhile, Fanuc Corp. , heavily exposed to the Chinese market, took a 2.2% loss, while trading house Itochu Corp. fell 1%, getting no apparent help from its plan to make a modest investment in a Singapore-based tech start-up fund, according to the Nikkei. However, a separate Nikkei report tipping beauty-product maker Pola Orbis Holdings Inc. to clock a record-high profit for the first half helped to guide the stock up 1.6%.

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