Japanese stocks rolled to further gains in early Wednesday trading, helped by surprisingly strong economic growth data and a weakening yen. The Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.7%, though off its early highs, and the Topix stronger by 0.6%, after the Cabinet Office reported Japan's economy grew by an annualized 2.4% during the January-March quarter, far better than the consensus forecast of 1.5% growth reported by The Wall Street Journal. The blue-chip exporters also enjoyed support from losses for the yen, with the dollar rising to �120.81 from �120.04 at the previous stock-market close. Among the globally exposed majors, Panasonic Corp. rose 1.8%, Konica Minolta Inc. added 1.6%, Trend Micro Inc. rallied 2.8%, and NEC Corp. improved by 2.2%. On the other hand, videogame-related companies saw some losses for reasons that weren't immediately clear, as Sony Corp. lost 0.6% (after a 2.6% after-hours loss for its U.S. shares), Capcom Co. fell 0.7%, and Nintendo Co. lost 1.6% despite winning a U.S. patent challenge in a Seattle federal court. But shares of Takata Corp. took center stage amid news that the recalls related to faulty Takata-made airbags were doubling in size. Shares of Takata tumbled 11.3%, though Honda Motor Co. -- the auto maker seen as most affected by the Takata recalls -- managed to rise 0.7%, with rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. up 1.1% and 0.4%, respectively. Energy shares were weaker following fresh losses for crude oil, with JX Holdings Inc. down 1.5%, Inpex Corp. off 1.4%, and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (Japex) dropping 4% after Pacific Northwest LNG -- in which Japex holds a stake -- failed to win approval from Canada's Lax Kw'alaams indigenous tribes to build a liquefied-natural-gas plant as part of a plan to export the commodity to Asia.
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