Nikkei edges down after US shares fall; cum-dividend buying limits losses

martes 24 de marzo de 2015 22:32 GYT

* Eisai drops on after soaring 32 pct over the last 2 days
    * Positive themes about Japan market may continue - analyst

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
edged down on Wednesday morning in choppy trade as U.S. shares
languished, but losses were limited by investor appetite for
stocks before they go ex-dividend later this week.
    The Nikkei benchmark fell 0.2 percent to 19,677.45
in mid-morning trade after trading in positive territory
    Analysts said that although there are signs that the
benchmark has risen sharply over the short period of time, the
market may not fall sharply until this Thursday, when most of
the stocks go ex-dividend.
    The Nikkei has added 13 percent since this year and has
risen about 5 percent so far this month, reflecting hopes of
recovering Japanese corporate earnings and better shareholder
    In the long-term, investors are seen bullish on the Japanese
market, analysts said.
    "These themes (better earnings and shareholder returns) as
well as increasing wages will likely continue attracting foreign
investors in the longer term," said Jun Yunoki, a strategist at
Nomura Securities, who visited Asian investors earlier this
month. "It's a matter of time before the Nikkei reaches 20,000."
    Japanese blue-chip companies announced wage hikes that
topped increases from the year before, following annual wage
talks, as requested by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is eager
to boost the economy squeezed by last year's sales tax hike.
    Outperforming the market was Santen Pharmaceutical Co
, which jumped as high as 9.2 percent to a record high
of 9,180 yen after the drugmaker raised its earnings forecast.
    Eisai Co dropped 4.8 percent on profit-taking after
the drugmaker soared more than 32 percent over the past two days
on hopes for the effectiveness of the drug which it co-developed
with Biogen Idec Inc. to treat Alzheimer's disease.
    Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp 
dropping 0.5 percent, Honda Motor Co shedding 0.3
percent and Tokyo Electron rising 0.3 percent.
    The broader Topix edged down 0.1 percent to 1,585.30
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to