Japanese stocks slipped lower in early Friday trading as investors took money off the table ahead of a three-day weekend, with the Nikkei Stock Average down 0.7%, and the Topix 0.5% weaker. A stronger yen helped weigh on the market, with the dollar buying �118.07, down from Thursday's high-water mark of �118.66, a fresh multi-year low. The forex-sensitive names trended broadly downward as a result, with Konica Minolta Inc. and Sharp Corp. each 1.7% lower, Hitachi Ltd. off 1.1%, Nissan Motor Co. losing 1.5%, and Fast Retailing Co. retreating 1.2%. Shares of Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. gave up 1.9% of their value as a Nikkei news report said Nippon Television Holdings Inc. would buy its health-club division Tipness, as Suntory seeks to focus on its core beverage operations. Nippon Television traded 1.7% lower. On the upside, Takata Corp. rallied 2.4% and Honda Motor Co. was 0.3% firmer as the market appeared to express some relief over a U.S. Senate hearing grilling the pair of companies and others over the rash of vehicle recalls due to faulty Takata airbags. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. gained 2.1%, extending gains from earlier in the week in the wake of news of its shipbuilding joint venture in China.
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