Exporters send Tokyo markets higher

In the first trading day since the beginning of the new year, the Tokyo equities markets were higher Thursday as export-dependent shares gained on a weak yen. The Nikkei 225 added 0.74 percent to 17,353.67, while the Topix index was 1.06 percent higher to 1,698.

In the electronics sector, Sony was up 1.8 percent to A?5,190, while Matsushita added 2.3 percent to A?2,430 even though it is facing a legal challenge to its patent on Bluetooth technology. Hitachi, meanwhile, was 6.1 percent higher to A?787 on hopes raised by its joint venture in power generation with US company General Electric.

Carmakers were also helped by the yena��s weakness. Honda gained 1.1 percent to A?4,750, while Nissan was up 1.4 percent to A?1,454. Toyota was 1.8 percent higher to A?8,110. Expectations are that Toyota could take over as the worlda��s biggest automobile manufacturer this year.

In the telecommunications sector, NTT DoCoMo added 3.2 percent to A?194,000 on reports that it is looking to keep costs low while it builds a new, a�?supera�? 3G network.

The oil sector saw declines on the session after declines in the price of crude oil. Japan Petroleum Exploration dropped almost 2 percent to A?6,940. Refiner Idemitsu Kosan was 2.84 percent lower to A?11,640.

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