Japan stocks fall on weak data, U.S. losses
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Japanese stocks fell sharply in early Friday trading after weak economic data at home and overnight losses on Wall Street helped send the Nikkei Stock Average down 0.7% to 8,922.22 after losing 1% at the open, with the Topix losing 0.6%. Data released ahead of the open showed Japan's industrial output fell 1.2% during July, led by electronics, with the drop confounding expectations for a sharp rise. That and a rising yen weighed on electonics and industrial names, with Komatsu Ltd. losing 2.4%, Pioneer Corp. down 1.9%, and Renesas Electronics Corp. losing 3.5%. Shares of Sharp Corp. tumbled 10.1% after Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. said talks to renegotiate its investment in the Japanese firm had yet to reach a conclusion. Steel makers also lost ground with Nippon Steel Corp. down 1.9% and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. losing 2.6% after a Nikkei business daily report saying the two firms -- which are due to merge in October -- will book wider-than-expected losses due to competition from less expensive Chinese steel. Rival steel producer JFE Holdings Inc. fell 2.6%.