Japan Stocks Lose More Ground

Losses on Wall Street, gains for the yen, thin-volume volatility -- these are some of the reasons being given for the weakness in Japanese shares Tuesday morning, as the Nikkei Average lost 1.6% to 16,815, falling back below the 17,000 level for the first time since mid November. The broader Topix was 1.3% lower. With the yen moving up (dollar at �117.81 vs. �118.27 when Tokyo last traded) and with the Nasdaq dropping 1% in Monday trade, techs extended their drop. Fujitsu Ltd. and TDK Corp. fell 2% each, Casio Computer Co. lost 2.1%, Nintendo Co. gave up 2.2%, and Seiko Epson Corp. retreated 2.7%. Meanwhile, Bank of Japan data showing corporations cutting their inflation expectations might have helped weigh on the retail names, as Aeon Co. lost 3.7%, J. Front Retailing Co. fell 2.3%, and Fast Retailing Co. pulled back 2%. Gainers were few and far between, but Skymark Airlines Inc. managed to extend its Monday advance by jumping 16% amid ongoing talk of a possible alliance with a larger carrier.

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