Japan Stocks Seesaw, With Ex-dividend Retailers Weak

Japan's blue-chip stocks started Wednesday mildly higher but quickly reeled back the gains, sending the Nikkei Average to the flat line about half an hour into the session, even as the broader Topix edged up 0.1%. Among the early movers, Hitachi Ltd. fell 0.9% after confirming the purchase of the railway assets of Italy's Finmeccanica SpA for about $2.1 billion, with the shares having lost 0.8% a day earlier when the Nikkei business daily broke news of the plans. Shares of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. lost a slimmer 0.3% on news of its acquisition of Turkish drug maker Neutec for a much smaller $121 million. Meanwhile, retailers weighed on the market as many of the biggest names traded ex-dividend, sending Fast Retailing Co. down 1%, J. Front Retailing Co. lower by 1.5%, and Aeon Co. off 3%. And stock in Tokyo Electric Power Co. was down 0.8% as more details emerged of a radioactive-water leak from the company's ruined Fukushima nuclear-power plant. Sony Corp. failed to get a bump from the announcement of a new chief for its Sony Pictures unit, the shares down 0.6% in Tokyo. More broadly, the exporter shares faced a mild headwind after the yen rebounded a little against the dollar overnight, with the dollar buying �118.73, down from �119.34 at the previous day's close. Among the globally exposed names, Toshiba Corp. lost 0.9%, Nintendo Co. eased 0.6%, and Bridgestone Corp. fell 1.3%.

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