Japanese stocks retreated from seven-week highs Thursday as investors took profits in high tech blue-chips after a weakening dollar and worse-than-expected industrial output numbers soured market sentiment.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index lost 105.79 points, or 0.75 percent, to close at 13,925.51 points on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The index rose 1.49 percent the day before to its highest level since Jan. 11.
Industrial production _ a widely watched indicator in this export-driven economy _ fell 2 percent in January from December, the Trade Ministry said early Thursday. The result was worse than the 0.6 percent drop projected by economists.
Technology stocks led the decliners. Tokyo Electron shed 4.6 percent to 6,900 yen, Sony Corp. dropped 1.9 percent to 5,220 yen, Elpida Memory fell 2.7 percent to 3,670 yen, and TDK Corp. lost 1.2 percent to 7,920 yen.
Export-oriented shares also suffered from the dollar's weakness against the yen, which makes the companies' products more expensive and less competitive overseas. he dollar bought 106.32 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Thursday, down from 106.45 yen late Wednesday in New York. The euro, meanwhile, slipped to US$1.5113 from US$1.5120.
Auto shares were also lower on profit-taking. Toyota Motor Corp. lost 2.5 percent to 5,910 yen and Mazda Motor Corp. shed 4 percent to 461 yen.
Nonferrous metals rallied on higher crude oil prices. Toho Zinc Co. jumped 8.8 percent to 705 yen and Sumitomo Metal Mining rose 2.7 percent to 2,265 yen.
The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, fell 11.42 points, or 0.84 perent, to 1,353.10.