Japan Stocks Lower As Sony Jumps, But Hitachi, Toyota Drop

Japanese stocks moved lower in early Thursday trading, with the blue chips underperforming the broader market, but with Sony Corp. surging on its earnings. After rallying 2% higher the previous day, the Nikkei Average was down 0.5% and the Topix off 0.2% amid reported profit-taking, with the dollar buying �117.27, little moved from �117.37 at the Wednesday close. Earnings were the main focus, however, with Sony zooming 8.5% higher after it revised up its operating-profit forecast for the fiscal year to show a profit, rather than a loss as previously projected. Yahoo Japan Corp. also climbed on the back of its earnings, with the shares up 2%. On the other hand, Hitachi Ltd. skidded more than 10% lower as a higher sales outlook couldn't overcome the company's drop in quarterly profit. Likewise, Toyota Motor Corp. lost 1.5% as a hike to its full-year forecast failed to support the stock. Beyond earnings, the dive in crude-oil futures overnight sent Inpex Corp. down 3% and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. down 2.1%, while Japan Airlines Co. and ANA Holdings Inc. each rose 1.1%. Also on the move, "Hello Kitty" creator Sanrio Co. saw its shares rise 2.1% as a Nikkei news report tipped the company to post a mild profit gain, thanks to strong Asian demand.

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