Nikkei falls on weak U.S. data; Yakult tumbles on Danone stake sale report
* Yakult dives 10 pct to 4-week low on Danone stake sale report * Nikkei's support seen at 16,500 even hit by correction - trader * Investors stay on the sidelines before U.S. Thanksgiving By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged down on Thursday morning, as exporters were hit by the yen's rise against the dollar thanks to weak U.S. data, while many investors stayed on the sidelines before a U.S. holiday. Yakult Honsha Co was one of the big losers of the day, diving 10 percent to a four-week low of 6,010 yen after Bloomberg reported that France's Danone SA is weighing a sale of its 20 percent stake in the company. The Nikkei fell 0.4 percent to 17,321.60 in midmorning trade after dropping 0.1 percent the previous day. U.S. markets will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving, with many U.S. traders expected to take a long weekend. "Investors are taking profits from the recent rises, but at the same time, there is confidence in the market that it should be supported," as some investors wait for an opportunity to buy more cheaply, said Hiromitsu Kamata, head of Japanese equity target department at Amundi Japan. He said that the Nikkei should be supported above 16,500 even if a short-term correction hits the market. The Nikkei has gained on the back of the Bank of Japan's surprise Oct. 31 easing, the Government Pension Investment Fund's decision to increase its allocation to Japanese stocks and China's interest-rate cut last week. The Nikkei has risen 20 percent since Oct. 31. Exporters languished as the dollar was down 0.1 percent at 117.63 yen, retreating from a seven-year high of 118.98 a week ago after a batch of disappointing U.S. data on consumers, housing and manufacturing raised concern about the U.S. economy Nissan Motor Co shed 1.2 percent, Fuji Heavy Industries dropped 2.6 percent and Sony Corp declined 1.2 percent. The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,399.50, and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.5 percent to 12,749.84. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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