Japan Stocks Rise, With Toshiba Surging On Earnings

Japanese stocks came stomping higher in early Friday trade, with the Nikkei Average quoted 0.9% higher -- almost erasing a 1.1% drop Thursday -- and with the broader Topix making an identical gain. Earnings results provided some of the upside for Tokyo, with Toshiba Corp. showing off a 5% gain after posting a 86% jump in nine-month net profit and, perhaps more importantly, saying it would exit its foreign television business. Casio Computer Co. also got a post-earnings boost to rise 2.7%, while Disco Corp. added 1.8% ahead of its earnings, as a Nikkei news report said the company's April-December operating profit would surge almost 50%, thanks to "smartphone-driven demand for its dicing saws." Among the telecoms, NTT DoCoMo Inc. -- which posted an 11% drop in nine-month earnings -- managed to rally 2.9%, possibly helped by news of its entry into the retail broadband market. On the other hand, rival Softbank Corp. fell 2.9% as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , in which Softbank is a top shareholder, saw its shares drop sharply in New York on disappointing financial results. Also losing ground, shares of Takata Corp. fell 1.1% as reports said a fatal Texas car crash earlier this month could be due to a faulty Takata airbag. Shares of Nintendo Co. retreated 0.1%, extending their post-earnings weakness after a tumble in the previous day's session. Meanwhile, the Japanese yen eased modestly, with the dollar changing hands for �118.18 compared to �117.89 a day before. A flood of economic data released ahead of the open was mostly negative -- with inflation slowing and household spending down sharply, while industrial production rose 1% against a forecast gain of 1.3% -- but the numbers appeared to have little effect on the currency and equities markets.

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