Japan Stocks Head Lower, With Sony, JAL Among Losers

Japanese stocks staggered lower in early Tuesday trading, with a weak lead from U.S. tech shares, a sovereign-credit downgrade for Japan and a modest gain for the yen all playing their roles in depressing the market. The Nikkei Stock Average was down 0.4%, paring a 0.8% advance the previous day, while the Topix also moved 0.4% to the downside. With the Nasdaq seeing its worst loss in seven weeks, and as the dollar giving up its overnight highs to buy �118.28, down from Monday's levels, many tech blue chips saw losses. Sony Corp. and Nintendo Co. retreated 2.4% each, also possibly weighed by concerns about this year's Black Friday sales in the U.S., while Sharp Corp. fell 0.7%, and Hitachi Ltd. lost 1%. On the other hand, NEC Corp. and Renesas Electronics Corp. rose 1.3% each, while Japan Display Inc. added 1.8%. The financials were broadly weaker after Moody's cut its rating on Japanese government debt to A1 from Aa3, citing uncertainty over whether Tokyo can meet its goals for deficit reduction. Decliners included Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (down 1.7%), Resona Holdings Inc. (down 1.4%) and Bank of Yokohama Ltd. (down 0.9%). Meanwhile, Japan Airlines Co. lost 1.5% and Skymark Airlines Inc. fell 2.3% on a rebound for oil prices, while steel mills advanced amid weakness in iron-ore prices, with JFE Holdings Inc. up 1% and Sumitomo Metal Metal Mining Co. up 1.3%.

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