Nikkei slips but on track for 8 pct yearly gain; 2015 outlook positive

lunes 29 de diciembre de 2014 21:55 GYT

* Stocks on course for yearly gain of around 8 percent
    * Nikkei may hit 20,000 by April - analyst
    * Toray Industries soars on BMW supply report

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday as
investors closed positions ahead of the long New Year holidays
and fretted over political turmoil in Greece.
    The Nikkei benchmark fell 0.6 percent to 17,627.96
points by 0141 GMT, but remained on course for a yearly gain of
almost 8 percent. In 2013 the Nikkei soared 57 percent on the
back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's easy-money policies.
    Greece is heading to an snap election next month after its
parliament rejected its prime minister's nominee for president
on Monday, just as it emerges from an economic crisis that shook
the eurozone. 
    A depreciating yen and aggressive asset buying programme by
the Bank of Japan in 2014 helped equity investors shrug off
concerns about the Japanese economy, which slipped into
recession after an April sales tax increase hit consumer
spending harder than expected. 
    With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary policies set
to continue next year, investors maintained a bullish outlook.
    "The new year will be very positive, with stocks boosted by
likely additional easing by the BOJ and corporate earnings
growth," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex, Inc.
    "The Nikkei may hit 20,000 yen by April."
    With the political onus on Abe to realise his promise to
revive the economy, the central bank may launch a fresh round of
monetary easing in April. In October, the BOJ tripled its buying
of exchange-traded funds to 3 trillion yen, and may double it
again in April, said Hiroki.  
    A corporate tax cut of at least 2.5 percentage points after
April and a yen hovering near 7-1/2 year lows is also set to
boost Japan Inc's profits in 2015. 
    Health-related stocks retreated after a man suspected of
contracting the deadly Ebola virus was given the all-clear.
Protective clothing maker Azearth Corp fell 10 percent,
surrending most of Monday's 16 percent increase. 
    Toray Industries Inc was the Nikkei's best
performer, jumping 4.0 percent after a report by the Nikkei
business daily that it will supply German auto giant BMW
 with carbon fibre, and plans to double production
capacity at its Mexico plant. 
    The broader Topix fell 0.6 percent to 1,415.77, on
course for a yearly gain of around 8.5 percent.  The JPX-Nikkei
Index 400 lost 0.7 percent to 12,843.55, and is set
to post a gain of over 9 percent for 2014.

 (Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Kim Coghill)