Japanese stocks moved up, down and all around in early Thursday action, with the most heavily weighted blue chips trading mixed in the face of a rising yen and overnight gains on the U.S. stock exchanges. About 15 minutes into the morning session, the Nikkei Average was 0.1% higher, while the broader Topix saw a more robust 0.4% advance. The dollar was about half a yen lower than at the previous Tokyo stock close, buying �119.01, compared to �119.56. The forex action appeared to hinder some of the tech and industrial exporters with Toshiba Corp. down 0.5%, TDK Corp. down 0.8%, and robot maker Fanuc Corp. down 1.2%, given its large exposure to China, which posted weak March economic data the previous day. But other names saw gains, including a 1% rise for Panasonic Corp. , and a 2.8% rally for Nintendo Co. , and with Sony Corp. extending its recent gains by 0.5% amid hope for its sensor business. Other globally exposed companies were also mixed, as Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing Co. fell 0.7%, but Softbank Corp. rose 1.6%, possibly helped by a 1% rise for shares of its listed U.S. unit Sprint Corp. during Wednesday trade in New York. Stock in Toyota Motor Corp. added 0.2% after reports the auto maker would spend about $1.4 billion to build new plants in Mexico and China, while Casio Computer Co. enjoyed a 3.4% gain, perhaps boosted by buzz surounding its new scientific calculator that includes spreadsheet functions. A bevy of Nikkei news reports previewing the upcoming earnings season also fueled some gains, with ball-bearing maker Minebea Co. rising 2.8% on word its fiscal 2014 operating profit surged by 86%, and chemical maker Showa Denko KK gaining 4.5% on expectations it will post significant profit gains this calendar year, even as first-quarter operating income is tipped to drop by 50%. Also getting a boost from a Nikkei news item, car-navigation makers Clarion Co. and JVC Kenwood Corp. advanced 7.3% and 3.4%, respectively, on forecasts of major earnings gains.
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