Japan Stocks Nose Higher, With Sony, Sharp Among Gainers

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks opened to a good-news-bad-news market Wednesday, enjoying a higher open but quickly moving off those highs as many of the main sectors traded mixed. The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.1% in early moves after a 0.6% gain the previous day, while the Topix was little changed from its last close. The yen was slightly higher, with the dollar buying �122.48 compared to �122.67 at the same time on Tuesday. But better-than-expected results from the Bank of Japan's closely watched tankan business-sentiment survey appeared to help offset the forex moves. Among the gainers, Sony Corp. added 0.8%, rebounding from a hard drop Tuesday, when it announced a capital raising, stoking worries of stock dilution. Shares of Sharp Corp. rose 0.7%, shrugging off S&P's downgrade of the company's debt to selective default from CCC-, due in large part to Sharp's de facto debt-for-equity swap, according to Dow Jones Newswires. On the downside, Suzuki Motor Corp. pulled 3.5% lower after a surprise replacement of its president, Osamu Suzuki, with his son. According to a Nikkei report, the move was prompted "by the pending cancellation of a partnership agreement with German carmaker Volkswagen."

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