Nikkei drops as investors grow uneasy about dimming economic prospects
* Long only funds absent - analyst * Topix trading value falling below 2 trillion yen for past 13 days By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Tokyo stocks fell on Thursday morning as concerns about Japan's economic recovery pushed investors to the sidelines as they waited for another batch of key data on Friday. The Nikkei share average dropped 0.5 percent to 15,453.75 in the morning session, after a modest 0.1 percent increase on the previous day. Low participation in the market, partly due to a lack of catalysts, has seen trading value on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section falling below 2 trillion yen in the last 13 sessions. Market players said investors appear reluctant to take large positions in the Japanese market due to concerns over disappointing economic data. On Friday, markets will get another chance to gauge economic activity when Japan releases retail sales data, consumer price figures and jobs data. "Long-only funds are absent now," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "They are concerned that Japan's macro data has shown weakness." Bellwether exporters lost ground, as the dollar was little changed against the yen at 103.89, having pulled back from a seven-month peak of 104.49 struck at the start of the week. Toyota Motor Corp shed 0.9 percent, Nissan Motor Co dropped 0.6 percent and Komatsu Ltd slid 0.6 percent. Wall Street's resilience, receding geopolitical tensions and a largely upbeat earnings season helped the Nikkei rise for nine straight sessions from August 11 to three-week highs. In has since pulled back, coinciding with growing doubts on whether Japan's economy can weather a recent sales tax hike. A recent string of data, including disappointing second quarter gross domestic product and private consumption, has added to a sense of caution A handful of other index heavyweight stocks also languished on Thursday, with Fast Retailing Co falling 1.1 percent and KDDI Corp dropping 1.2 percent. The broader Topix declined 0.5 percent to 1,279.08, and JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.6 percent to 11,617.98. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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