Nikkei retreats from 7-1/2-yr high as yen bounces, Sony hit by cyberattack

lunes 8 de diciembre de 2014 22:01 GYT
 

* Profit-taking sets in after 7 straight days of gains
    * Large-cap exporters lead losses as yen rebounds
    * Sony down on cyber attack concerns
    * Hopes of Abe's election victory, BOJ buying support market

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
stepped back from 7-1/2-year highs on Tuesday, as a retreat on
Wall Street and a rebound in the yen prompted investors to book
gains after a seven-session winning streak.
     On the whole, market players remained bullish, expecting
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to win a weekend re-election bid that
will give him a fresh mandate to continue with the government's
pro-growth policies.
    The Nikkei share average fell 0.5 percent to 17,839.17
, after having risen 4.0 percent in the previous seven
sessions.
    U.S. S&P 500 posted its biggest daily percentage drop
in a month and a half on Monday on fall in energy stocks as well
as soft Chinese trade data.
    The yen rose to around 120.90 to the dollar from a
low of 121.86 hit on Monday, prompting profit-taking in
exporters shares. Panasonic fell 2.1 percent while
Komatsu dropped 2.2 percent.
    Sony shares fell 3.1 percent after a group that
claimed to be responsible for the massive computer hack at Sony
Pictures Entertainment demanded that the company cancel the
release of "The Interview," a comedy that depicts an
assassination plot against North Korea's leader. 
    Still, with the yen more than 12 percent weaker than just
three months ago, likely earnings improvements at Japanese
exporters are expected to underpin the market.
    "The rally has been very rapid. So for the moment the market
will likely be consolidating. But the impact of a weaker yen
will begin to be reflected in corporate earnings so the market
is unlikely to fall much," said Masaki Uchida, executive
director at JPMorgan Asset Management.
    Expectations that Japanese voters will give the thumbs up to
Abe's radical reflationary policies in Sunday's election has
also buoyed the market's mood.
    Latest media projections point to the possibilities his
coalition may gain more seats to keep its two-thirds majority in
parliament's lower house. 
    Many market players are also speculating the Bank of Japan
could buy exchange traded funds (ETFs) later in the session.
    The BOJ bought ETFs in the last two sessions as a part of
its programme to purchase 3 trillion yen of ETFs a year.
    The broader Topix fell 0.4 percent while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also dropped 0.4 percent.
    Bucking the trend, Takata shares rose 4.4 percent
after a media report that Honda Motor may support the
auto parts firm.

 (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)