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Japanese stocks sag

Japan's 862 stock-exchange-listed companies are expecting to report profit declines averaging 25 percent for the six-month period from April through September, according to a recent survey conducted by Nihon Keisai, the country's leading economic newspaper.

In general, these sales figures, to be released at the end of September, will highlight the first widespread downtrend in the industrial-commercial sector in about five years. The heaviest net losses are predicted for Japan's electric power and oil refining industries. But the worldwide recession has also affected the steel, automobile, shipbuilding, and machinery industries.

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Relatively unaffected by depressed economic conditions have been the Japanese companies in industrial electronics and pharmaceuticals. The latter have been helped by new products and stable prices in the country's national health insurance program.