Japan Stocks Start Week Higher, But Sony Pulls Back

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks advanced early Monday, with modest gains for some of the globally exposed blue chips helping lift the 225-issue Nikkei Average by 0.3% and the Topix up by 0.2%. As the dollar held above the 120-yen level, TDK Corp. added 0.5%, Sharp Corp. rose 0.7%, Advantest Corp. improved by 1%, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Fast Retailing Co. each gained 0.8%, and Toyota Motor Corp. traded 0.4% higher, even as Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. lost 0.1% apiece. Shares of Sony Corp. fell 0.7% after reporting online revenue of more than $15 million for its comedy "The Interview," even as traditional box-office receipts totaled less than $3 million between Thursday and Sunday. The Tokyo market also reacted to the Cabinet's passage of almost $30 billion in stimulus. While the package includes measures to bolster smaller businesses hurt by the falling yen, it also contains public works projects for rebuilding disaster-hit areas. Construction-company shares trended higher early Monday, with Obayashi Corp. up 1%, and Kajima Corp. gaining 0.6%. Weak energy prices appeared to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. (up 2.9%) and Hokkaido Electric Power Co. (up 0.9%), but Kansai Electric Power Co. underpeformed many of the other utilities, up just 0.1%, as the Nikkei reported Kansai was in partnership talks with Tokyo Gas Co. . Stock in Tokyo Gas traded 0.9% higher.

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