Nikkei slips on weak economic data; Sumitomo dives after profit warning

lunes 29 de septiembre de 2014 21:58 GYT

* Economic data, Hong Kong unrest weigh
    * Sumitomo's sharp decline hammers other trading houses
    * For the month, Nikkei is up 4.8 pct

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday
morning as a one-two punch of weak economic data and a profit
warning from Sumitomo Corp depressed sentiment.
    Investors were already on the back foot before the start of
trading as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong dented risk
appetite in global markets.  
    The early spotlight fell on Sumitomo Corp, which nosedived
13 percent after it slashed its annual profit forecast by 96
percent due to losses on a U.S. shale project and sharp declines
in iron ore and coal prices. Sumitomo's woes weighed on other
trading houses and steelmakers. 
    The Nikkei share average fell 0.9 percent to
16,170.70 in mid-morning trade after rising 0.5 percent on
    The benchmark is still up 4.8 percent for the month helped
by the weakening yen and improving momentum in the U.S. economy.
    Annual household spending in Japan fell for a fifth straight
month in August and factory output unexpectedly declined,
highlighting the challenges policymakers face to revive an
economy reeling under the strain of a sales tax hike.
    "The result triggered concerns about Japan's growth for the
July-September quarter," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist
and economist at Mizuho Securities, adding that the weak figures
prompted investors to take profit from the recent rally in the
Japanese market.
    On the bright side, activity in China's vast factory sector
showed signs of steadying in September as export orders climbed,
a private survey showed on Tuesday. 
    Kuramochi said that civil unrest in Hong Kong appears to be
sidelining investors. 
    Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters blocked Hong
Kong streets in the early hours on Tuesday, maintaining pressure
on China as it faces one of its biggest political challenges
since the Tiananmen Square crackdown 25 years ago.
    Trading houses and steelmakers led the declines, with Itochu
Corp falling 3.8 percent, Marubeni Corp 
dropping 4.0 percent, and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp
 shedding 1.8 percent.
    Exporters, which gained in recent days, were also pressured.
 Toyota Motor Corp fell 1.2 percent, Honda Motor Co
 was off 1.1 percent and Canon Inc declined 1.0
    The broader Topix fell 1.0 percent to 1,323.58, and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slid 1.1 percent to

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)