Japan Stocks Shed Opening Losses, But Yen Limits Upside

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Japanese stocks climbed out of a shallow pit of losses early Tuesday to reach mild gains, defying a weak U.S. lead and stronger yen. The Nikkei Stock Average nosed 0.1% higher, with the Topix up 0.3%, even as gains for the local currency (U.S. dollar buying �120.03, down from �120.74 at the Monday stock close) limited the upside for some forex-sensitive exporters. Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. were up 0.2% each after starting with losses, though Nissan Motor Co. fell 0.4%. Among the techs, Panasonic Corp. fell 0.4% and Fujitsu Ltd. gave up 1.2%, but Sony Corp. managed to shed losses to rise 0.7%, with the advance coming after its Sony Pictures Entertainment unit poached a key executive from rival 21st Century Fox Inc. "in hopes of boosting its international film business," according to a Dow Jones Newswires report. Sharp Corp. rallied 2.8% amid an improving fiscal picture for the company, while retailer J. Front Retailing Co. enjoyed a 1.9% rise, and Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. gained 2.9%. A trio of Nikkei news reports previewing upcoming earnings also had an impact: Trading house Itochu Corp. added 1.9% after the Nikkei tipped a 10% increase in fiscal 2015 profit, while Dowa Holdings Co. rallied 4.8% on a Nikkei forecast for a 17% profit growth in the just-ended fiscal year. But Seiko Epson Corp. slipped 0.2% as another Nikkei report said the company's "net profit will likely decline sharply," due in part to a difficult comparison with the previous year's results, which were juiced by one-time items.

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