Nikkei slides 2 pct on firmer yen, profit-taking on recent rally
* Exporters sag as dollar/yen back in 102-yen zone * Volatility eyed amid thin volume before futures settlement * Yamato Holdings soars to 8-year high on price hike report By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average slid more than 2 percent on Wednesday as investors locked in profits after a recent rally to a five-week high, while a stronger yen hit overall sentiment and dragged down exporters like Toyota Motor. The Nikkei was down 2.2 percent or 328.35 points at 14,895.39 as of 0132 GMT, hitting its lowest since March 6, after rising 0.7 percent the previous day. It hit a five-week peak of 15,312.60 last Friday. Traders said thin volume may create volatility before the settlement of Nikkei futures and options on Friday. On Tuesday, trading volume on the main board was 1.81 billion shares, the lowest since mid-October. "We need to be careful about possible volatility," said Takatoshi Itoshima, chief portfolio manager at Commons Asset Management. "Also, the market has more sellers than buyers now ... there were some emotional stock investors yesterday who expected the central bank to ease, so these people are selling today." As expected, the Bank of Japan on Tuesday maintained its massive monetary stimulus on the view that economic growth and consumer price increases remained on track. Itoshima said that while bond and foreign exchange traders had expected there would be no surprises from the BOJ, some stock market investors had been overly optimistic. Among exporters, Toyota Motor Corp dropped 1.7 percent, Honda Motor Co shed 1.8 percent and Nikon Corp fell 2.4 percent. The dollar fell to 102.97 from Tuesday's high of 103.43. Bucking the weakness, Yamato Holdings soared as much as 6.7 percent to an eight-year high of 2,334 yen and was the 11th-most-traded stock by turnover. The Nikkei business daily reported that the parcel delivery service provider would increase its shipping fees to corporate clients to cover rising personnel and fuel costs. The broader Topix index shed 1.6 percent to 1,213.05, with all of its 33 subindexes in negative territory. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, a gauge comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, dropped 1.7 percent to 10,968.97.
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