Nikkei snaps 5-day winning streak on profit-taking, JAL drops

miércoles 24 de diciembre de 2014 22:09 GYT
 

* Investors take profits in holiday-thinned trading
    * Airliners biggest loser as JAL falls on tax report
    * Investors maintain positive market outlook

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
slipped on Thursday in holiday-thinned trade as investors took
profits after five straight sessions of gains.
    Airlines were the biggest losers in the Tokyo Stock
Exchange's 33 industry subindexes as Japan Airlines 
fell 3.2 percent on a media report that the government is
considering scrapping a special tax break for companies that
received the government's support to recover from bankruptcy.
    The Nikkei average dropped 0.3 percent to 17,795.07,
after having risen 6.6 percent in the previous five sessions on
hopes of solid U.S. growth next year.
    "It is natural to see some profit-taking after a rally in
the last five days. But I think many people still expect the
market to hit a new high at the end of year," said Toshiyuki
Kanayama, market analyst at Monex Securities.
    Earlier this month the Nikkei hit a seven-year high of
18,030.83. The yen's fall was the biggest driver of the rally as
it boosts Japanese exporters' profits and could make Japanese
firms more competitive.
    The yen traded at 120.33 to the dollar on Thursday,
not far from a seven-year low of 121.86 hit on Dec. 8.
    "Given the yen's fall, Japanese corporate profits will
likely to grow about 10 percent this financial year and another
10 percent in the next year," said Hiroshi Ono, the head of
equity investment at Sumitomo Life Insurance.
    "I think the Nikkei is likely to extend its rally to hit
20,000 next year," Ono added.
    Investors are also optimistic for the U.S. economic outlook
after news on Tuesday that the U.S. economy grew at 5.0 percent 
in the third quarter, its quickest pace in 11 years and a sign
that growth may have shifted into higher gear. 
    The broader Topix lost 0.3 percent with decliners
outnumbering gainers by two to one. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400
 also lost 0.3 percent.
    Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 1.3 percent
after media report that the group is considering a share buyback
and an increase in dividend payouts.