Japan Stocks Pull Back On Stronger Yen, Mixed Earnings

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Japan stocks took a walk on the downside in early Thursday action, weighed by a stronger yen and a mixed bag of earnings reports. The Nikkei Stock Average was 0.3% weaker about 10 minutes into the trading day, eating into Wednesday's 0.7% advance, while the Topix was down 0.2%. A climbing Japanese yen was partly to blame, with the dollar changing hands for �119.20, down more than half a yen from the �119.85 it recorded 24 hours earlier. The forex moves appeared to drag on some of the tech and industrial exporters, with Sony Corp. down 0.6%, Casio Computer Co. down 2.8%, Nintendo Co. down 1.9%, Panasonic Corp. down 0.8%, and Komatsu Ltd. down 1.2%. Weak financial results also hit some shares: Japan Display Inc. surrendered 4% of its value after posting a fiscal-year loss and sharp drop in operating profit, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. took a 1.5% slap lower after its full-year group profit fell by almost 10%. But there were post-earnings winners as well, most notably Nissan Motor Co. , which traded 3.1% higher after robust U.S. sales helped the auto maker's quarterly net profit to rise 3% from a year earlier. The gains came in spite of news that Nissan was recalling another 1.6 million vehicles due to problems with airbags made by Takata Corp. , shares of which lost 4.7% early Thursday in Tokyo. Toyota Motor Corp. , which announced a Takata-related recall of about 5 million vehicles, was down 0.3%. Toyota also announced a tie-up with Mazda Motor Corp. on environmental and safety technology, and shares of Mazda were up 1%. Meanwhile Konica Minolta Inc. soared 9% after posting strong earnings, and Toshiba Corp. rebounded from recent heavy losses by 5% as it filled in some of the details on the accounting issues that prompted it to withdraw its earnings guidance, though Toshiba has yet to issue a new forecast. Murata Manufacturing Co. also rallied, rising 3.3% as a Nikkei news report said the company planned to build two multilayer-ceramic-capacitor plants due to an expected rise in demand for the component, used in the manufacture of smartphones and cars' onboard computers among other things.

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