TOKYO -- The key

Nikkei 225

index eked out gains as cyclical shares, including pharmaceuticals and auto stocks, rallied late in the day.

The Nikkei 225 index rose 26.47, to close at 16,573.59, while the

Topix

index, which includes all shares listed on the

Tokyo Stock Exchange's

first section, shed 2.36 to finish at 1502.45. The

Jasdaq

small-cap index lost 0.99, or 1.2%, to stand at 78.80, while the Nikkei

over-the-counter

index shed 17.06, or 1.0%, ending the day at 1654.14.

Following the Nasdaq's slump, Tokyo's tech shares took a beating.

NEC

(NIPNY)

lost 115 yen, or 3.8%, to 2880 ($26.41),

Sharp

lost 19, or 1.1%, to 1694 while

Fujitsu

fell 100, or 3.2%, to 3000.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

lost 40 to 10,450 a day before the release of first-quarter earnings. Experts predict the firm will report a group net loss of up to 100 billion yen due to unexpected expenses from its U.S. movie business.

Dealers at local brokerages picked up shares of drug and auto makers late in the day, including

Takeda Chemical Industries

, up 290, or 4.6%, to 6630 and

Toyota Motor

(TM) - Get Report

, up 140, or 3.1%, to 4640. The latter also said it has developed a technology that makes diesel engine emissions much cleaner.

With worries over the near-term economic scenario in Japan due to a string of large corporate bankruptcies, the greenback inched higher against the yen and recently bought 109.05.

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

index dropped 284.35, or 1.6%, to 17,375.34 largely on declines by

Hutchison Whampoa

. Hutchison slipped HK$4.50, or 3.8%, to 114.50 ($14.69) despite news that the firm had agreed to sell its 22% stake in

VoiceStream Wireless

(VSTR)

to

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

for a hefty premium. Other mobile phone operators declined as well, including

China Mobile

(CHL) - Get Report

, down 2.00, or 2.9%, to 66.50. Check out

coverage on the Deutsche Telekom-VoiceStream deal from

TheStreet.com/New York Times.com

newsroom.

Elsewhere in Asia, Korea's

Kospi

index shed 0.25 to close at 737.64, while Taiwan's

TWSE

index lost 163.81, or 2.0%, to end the day at 7900.39. Investors in Taiwan were a bit rattled when

Yu Shyi-kun

, the island's vice premier, resigned to take responsibility for a botched rescue attempt. The public was outraged that its government delayed sending a rescue unit to save four workers who had been swept away in a recent flood. Some traders were fearful of political instability because the official had been in office only two months.