Nikkei rebounds after Fed minutes ease rate hike concerns, Toyota falters
* Nikkei rise seen as technical rebound after rise in U.S. stocks * Fed minutes soothe sentiment * Toyota falters on recall of vehicles, BoFA Merrill cuts rating * Fanuc soars after Goldman raises rating on likely strong orders By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 10 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rebounded on Thursday morning after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve eased worries over the timing of rate hikes, though Toyota Motor extended losses as investors punished it for its latest global recall of vehicles. The Nikkei gained 1.0 percent to 14,438.52 in mid-morning trade, snapping a four-day losing streak that saw it drop to a three-week low on the previous day. The Japanese market lost more than 5 percent over the past four sessions hit by a tumble in tech shares in the United States, which dragged down Japanese tech stocks including index heavyweight SoftBank Corp. Bank Of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda also hurt sentiment in Wednesday's session by quelling hopes of additional near-term stimulus. "It's a technical rebound," said a portfolio manager at a Japanese asset management firm, adding that people's attention has shifted back to the U.S. economy and worries about a rate hike in the foreseeable future has receded. U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday after minutes of the Fed's March 18-19 policy-setting meeting, Janet Yellen's first as chair, did not reveal any discussion of keeping rates near zero for a "considerable time." Toyota Motor Corp, which tumbled on Wednesday after saying it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally, faltered again on worries the latest problems will hit its earnings. Separately, Bank Of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating to 'neutral' from 'buy' citing the likelihood that Toyota's earnings will fall short of a consensus estimate for the year through March 2015. Bellwether exporters supported the market, with Honda Motor Co rising 0.9 percent, Sony Corp adding 1.1 percent and Canon Inc advancing 1.6 percent. Industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp jumped 3.8 percent to a one-week high of 18,315 yen and was the sixth most traded stock by turnover after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to 'buy' from 'neutral.' The brokerage cited likely strong machinery orders which are expected to be announced at its earnings release later in the month. The broader Topix added 1.2 percent to 1,164.27, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.2 percent to 10,596.21. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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