Japan Stocks Start Weaker, With Blue Chips Leading Losses

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks started the week by sliding downhill, encouraged into losses by the lack of progress on a Greek debt deal, a weak finish for Wall Street on Friday and an unsympathetic yen. The Nikkei Average was 0.8% lower about 10 minutes into trade, erasing its mild 0.1% gain seen Friday, while the Topix lost 0.7%, as the dollar bought �123.41, a little below it levels late last week around the �123.55 mark. With no support from a lower yen, the globally exposed names trended lower, with Sony Corp. down 1.6%, Panasonic Corp. down 1.2%, Seiko Epson Corp. down 2.6%, and Nissan Motor Co. down 1.3%. Shares of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. softened by 1.4% as a Nikkei news report said the company was set to launch a reorganization potentially costing up to $1.2 billion. Honda Motor Co. retreated by 1.8% after confirming that the death of a Honda driver in Louisiana was due to a defective airbag made by Takata Corp. , shares of which were up 0.2% for the morning but down 2.7% for the month to date. Isuzu Motors Ltd. managed to buck the downtrend among the auto makers, rising 1.3% as The Wall Street Journal said it will join General Motors Co. in the latter's return to the U.S. medium-truck market under the Chevrolet brand. Toshiba Corp. managed to outpeform the broader market by limiting its stock loss to 0.5% despite reports saying the corporation's accounting probe was extending beyond previously disclosed issues in its infrastructure division. Toshiba had ended Friday trade down 0.9%. Among the gainers, Usen Corp. rose 0.9% after a Nikkei report said the digital-music provider's September-May profit would print 9% higher than the year-earlier period. Stock in ANA Holdings Inc. improved by 0.5%, with another Nikkei report saying the carrier was laying groundwork to start nonstop air service between Tokyo and Mexico City.

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