A stronger yen and a blah lead from the U.S. session helped to drag Japanese stocks to losses Friday morning, despite a brief visit to positive territory during the first half hour of trade. The Nikkei Average opened lower, then turned to gains before slipping back to a 0.4% loss. The Topix followed a similar path, trading down 0.2%. Shares of Softbank Corp. opened with gains after announcing a $250 million investment in privately held production company Legendary Entertainment, but the telecom's shares soon descended to a 0.5% loss. Other major decliners included Honda Motor Co. (down 2.3%), Suzuki Motor Corp. (down 2%), and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (down 1.5%). Seven & I Holdings Co. pulled back 1% after posting a record-high operating profit for the first fiscal half, but reporting weakness in the June-August quarter. On the other hand, some of the top-weighted Nikkei Average components saw gains, even as the yen moved higher (the dollar was buying �108.65, down from �108.84 at Thursday's Tokyo stock close). Fast Retailing Co. rose 2.1%, bouncing off a loss Thursday as the retailer prepared to report earnings next week, while Sony Corp. added 0.8%, and Fujitsu Ltd. rallied 2.5%. Among smaller names, shares of logistics and shipping company Nippon Express Co. added 0.9% as the Nikkei reported it will post a nearly 10% gain in half-year operating profit, though that would still miss estimates.
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