Japanese stocks punched higher early Wednesday, with some positive earnings, an overnight advance in the U.S. and the dollar's return about the �108 level all helping to send the Nikkei Average up 0.7%, enough to erase the previous session's 0.4% drop. The Topix saw a 0.9% gain. Among the companies which reported earnings after Tuesday's close, Nomura Holdings Inc. saw its shares jump 4.5% (its quarterly net profit more than doubled), while steel mill JFE Holdings Inc. added 3.5% (it raised its full-year operating-profit outlook by some 15%), but Honda Motor Co. lost 1.8% after posting a gain in net profit but also trimming its net income projection for the current fiscal year ending in March. Likewise, stock in Bridgestone Corp. slipped 0.2% as a Nikkei news report tipped the tire maker to report a 7% rise in January-September operating profit. Meanwhile, with the dollar buying �108.11 after ending the previous stock session at �107.83, techs traded broadly higher: Panasonic Corp. rose 1.1%, TDK Corp. added 1.7%, and Sony Corp. was up 2.4% despite making another cut to its smartphone sales forecast for the fiscal year, lowering guidance to 40 million units from 43 million units, according to a Nikkei report. Japanese industrial production data out just ahead of the open showed output rising 2.7% in September, beating a Wall Street Journal forecast for a 2.2% rise, though the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the data point was fluctuating "indecisively." Some of the top industrial blue chips outperformed following the data, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. up 1.9%, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. up 1.5%, and Fanuc Corp. adding 1.3%, while among the auto makers, Toyota Motor Corp. advanced 1%, and Daihatsu Motor Co. rose 2.1%.
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