Nikkei slips from 15-year high after Fed spurs profit-taking

miércoles 18 de marzo de 2015 22:54 GYT

* Financial shares lead losses after fall in bond yields
    * Investors take profit after sharp gains over past month
    * Nintendo, DeNA soar on tie-up plan
    * Hopes for change in Japan firms underpin market

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, March 19 (Reuters) - Japanese share prices slipped
from 15-year highs on Thursday, as investors took profits on
recent gainers such as financial shares, which could suffer from
a fall in Japanese bond yields.
    The Nikkei share average, fell 0.7 percent to
19,418.38, after briefly hitting a 15-year intraday high of
19,557.17 in early trade.
    Yields on Japanese government bonds fell after the U.S.
Federal Reserve struck a more dovish tone on interest rates and
gave a more cautious view of the world's largest economy.
    Investors locked in on gains, with the market having risen
more than eight percent in the past month on a variety of
reasons including expectations of more buying by Japanese public
investors to hopes for earnings growth and corporate governance
    "The rally has been very rapid and it will be hard to bid it
up further. Japanese investors will probably take profits ahead
of the end financial year (on March 31,)" said Hiroshi Ono, the
head of equity investment at Sumitomo Life Insurance.
    Financial shares led the decline after Japanese bond yields
fell. Low interest rates tend to squeeze bank revenues.
    Bank shares fell 1.9 percent, with Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group slipping 2.2 percent and Sumitomo
Mitsui Financial Group dropping 1.7 percent.
    Insurers also fell 1.9 percent, with Dai-ichi
Life falling 2.3 percent and T&D Holdings 2.7 percent.
    The yen's one percent gain against the dollar following the
Fed's policy meeting was also cited as a possible trigger for
profit-taking, though shares of exporters were not particularly
    Toyota Motor rose 0.2 percent, outperforming the
overall market, while Nissan Motor was down 1.2
    Bucking the trend, shares in Nintendo and DeNA
 extended their big gains for a second day after the
companies announced a tie-up.
    Nintendo rose 11 percent after hitting limit-up on
Wednesday, while DeNA was untraded with a glut of buy orders at
the day's limit for two days in a row.
    Some market players said hopes that Japanese companies would
step up efforts to boost profits and shareholder returns were
sustaining strong foreign investor appetite for Japanese stocks.
    Fanuc gained 1.1 percent, hitting another record
high, extending gains since a surprise change in policy to limit
its engagement with shareholders reported last Friday to more
than 17 percent.
    "It was an extremely well-held view that Fanuc would never
change. That myth was busted. It was an extremely well-held view
that Nintendo would never change. And that myth also was
busted," said Stefan Worrall, director of cash equities at
Credit Suisse.
    "So for foreign investors, their traditionally held views,
with regards to Nintendo and Fanuc, have been turned
upside-down," he said.
    The broader Topix fell 0.5 percent and the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.6 percent.

 (Additional reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Jacqueline