Japanese stocks started modestly higher Wednesday but quickly added to gains as the yen trudged further downhill. The Nikkei Stock Average sat 0.5% higher about half an hour into the session, and the Topix was up 0.8%, as the dollar broke back above the �117 handle to hit its highest level against the Japanese currency since 2007. The forex move was largely in reaction to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's announcement late Tuesday that the planned hike to the consumption tax, due next October, would be delayed for a year and a half. Abe also said he would dissolve parliament Friday and call snap elections. The currency-sensitive techs and industrials led the gains, with Nintendo Co. up 1.9%, Toshiba Corp. and Panasonic Corp. up 1.8% each, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. and Mazda Motor Corp. up 3% each, Kyocera Corp. up 2%, Seiko Epson Corp. up 3.1%, and Renesas Electronics Corp. up 3.7%. Even Sony Corp. , which had started lower after strong gains Tuesday on the back of upbeat guidance for its entertainment units, bounced back to trade 1% higher. Among other gainers, airlines cheered further losses for energy futures, with Japan Airlines Co. rising 1.4% and ANA Holdings Inc. up 1.8%. Among the losers, Softbank Corp. fell 1.4% after a management shake-up at its listed U.S. unit Sprint Corp. , and industrial conglomerate Dowa Holdings Co. retreated 1.2%, getting no help from a Nikkei news report saying Dowa hoped to double its Southeast Asia profit by ramping up its waste-treatment business. And shares of Takata Corp. , which had opened higher, traded 2.9% lower as a senior U.S. regulator called for a nationwide recall of Takata airbags.
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