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NISSAN LOSES $818 MILLION, HALF OF 1995'S LOSS

Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday a gradual turnaround in sales helped trim losses for its latest fiscal year to 88.42 billion yen ($818.7 million) - about half of what the automaker lost the previous year.

Like other Japanese automakers, Nissan has been seriously hurt by the country's recent economic slowdown. Japan's No. 2 automaker, which now has reported losses for four consecutive years, lost 166.05 billion yen a year ago.Sales in the fiscal year ended March 31 rose 3.5 percent to 6.04 trillion yen ($55.9 billion) from 5.83 trillion yen.

Nissan's domestic market share climbed to 21.8 percent, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous year, as its luxury models, such as the Cedric and Gloria, did especially well in the Japanese market.

The strength of the dollar against the yen helped Nissan pare its losses. Profits for exports plummeted when the dollar fell to 80 yen last spring, as a weaker dollar makes Japanese goods more expensive abroad. The dollar has since recovered to 108 yen.