Nikkei falls as oil slump sours mood, Abe win offers little respite

domingo 14 de diciembre de 2014 22:01 GYT

* Nikkei down as oil slump hits global risk appetite
    * Little momentum drawn from Abe's landslide election win
    * Victory seen as positive for stocks in 2015

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Dec 15(Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday
after slumping oil prices toppled Wall Street shares, while
investors drew little comfort from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
landslide win in a snap election over the weekend.
    The Nikkei benchmark sagged 0.8 percent to 17,227.79
by 0136 GMT, after recovering slightly from a trough of
17,037.21 touched shortly after the open.
    Last week, U.S. stocks suffered their worst weekly drop for
2-1/2 years, as free-falling oil prices hit the energy and
commodities sectors and raised the spectre of falling global
demand and deflation.[ID: nL1N0TW22H]
    U.S. crude futures fell as much as 2.5 percent in
early Asian trade on Monday. [ID: nL6N0TW12K]
    "In the short-term, Japanese stocks are responding to the
risk-off stance we're seeing abroad," said Mitsushige Akino,
chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co in Tokyo.
    Investors are also nervous ahead of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's policy meeting, which begins on Tuesday. The Fed is
seen as hinting at a move towards raising interest rates.  
    The dollar fell as low as 117.78 against the yen, pressuring
big-name exporter shares, which are sensitive to fluctuations in
the yen-dollar exchange rate and global demand. 
    Toyota Motor Corp skidded 1.4 percent, while Nissan
Motor Co Ltd also lost 1.8 percent.
    Abe's ruling coalition scored a big election win on Sunday,
but the widely-expected victory did little to cheer investors
concerned about the Japanese economy and global growth
    The result, sealed after a record low turnout, ensures that
Abe will stick to aggressive relationary policies that have
boosted the Japanese stock market and weakened the yen since he
took power in 2012.[ID: nL3N0TY0D2]    
    Medium to long-term investors hope that the Japanese
premier, maintaining his two-thirds 'super-majority', will push
through corporate-friendly structural reforms like deregulation.
    "The thesis for Japan is that 2015 will deliver escape
velocity, and for that the policy parameters are now set," said
Jesper Koll, director of research at JP Morgan, citing the Bank
of Japan's easing in October and the postponement until April
2017 of a second sales tax hike.
    A Bank of Japan's survey, meanwhile, underscored the
challenges that face Abe's efforts. The closely-watched tankan
poll showed that manufacturers' sentiment fell slightly in the
fourth quarter. Firms expect confidence to worsen in the next
quarter. [ID: nL3N0TS2NG]
    The broader Topix slipped 0.7 percent to 1,390.86,
while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.8 percent
to 12,598.26.

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)