Nikkei falls on soft PMI, weak U.S. shares trigger profit-taking

lunes 23 de marzo de 2015 22:39 GYT
 

* Nikkei has risen 13 pct this year, 5 pct this month
    * Profit-taking hits, but market may stay resilient until
stocks go ex-dividend - traders
    * GS Yuasa dives after cutting earnings forecast

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
fell on Tuesday morning, hit by a weak survey out of China and
fall in U.S. shares, but continuing ongoing expectations of
better returns for holders of Japanese shares limited losses and
supported overall sentiment.
    The Nikkei dropped 0.3 percent to 19,703.80 in
mid-morning trade, staying close to a 15-year high of 19,778.60
hit on Monday.
    Analysts said that profit-taking was expected at this point,
with the Nikkei gaining 13 percent since this year and adding 5
percent so far this month, reflecting hopes of recovering
Japanese corporate earnings and better shareholder returns.
    "The market is sensitive to good news and is numb to bad
news now, but it does seem overbought in a short period of time
so profit-taking is natural," said Norihiro Fujito, senior
investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley
Securities.
    Fund managers said that such stocks as JGC Corp,
Misumi Group Inc and Nippon Paint Holdings Co 
were prone to profit-taking by foreign investors due to their
recent rises. JGC fell 5.7 percent, while Misumi shed 4.8
percent and Nippon Paint dropped 3.5 percent.
    Activity in China's factory sector dipped to a 11-month low
in March as new orders shrank, a private survey showed. 
 
    But others say that the Japanese market may stay somewhat
resilient until this Thursday, when most of the stocks go
ex-dividend.
    "Investors have never been more focused on shareholder
returns. After this day, there may be some profit-taking but
until then, the market may stay strong," said Naoki Fujiwara, a
fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management.
     He said that such changes as Japan's corporate governance
code have triggered buying of foreign investors.
    Introduced as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth
strategy, the code calls on listed companies to have two or more
independent directors and to boost returns on equity that are
lower in Japan than in the United States and Europe.
    GS Yuasa Corp tumbled as much as 5.8 percent to a
more than two-week low after cutting its earnings forecast.
 
    Bucking the weakness,  Eisai Co, which jumped 21
percent on Monday, soared 6 percent, on ongoing hopes for the
effectiveness of its drug to treat Alzheimer's disease.
    The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,584.78
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.4 percent to
14,403.49.