Nikkei falls to more than 1-week low as hedge funds take profits before quarter end

viernes 27 de marzo de 2015 03:04 GYT

* Nikkei down 1.4 pct for the week, snapping 6-week winning
    * Hedge funds take profits before Jan-March quarter ends -
    * Futures volume largest since March 11

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
gave up early gains and fell to its lowest level in more than a
week on Friday, led by futures selling as hedge funds took
profits from its recent rise.
    The Nikkei benchmark fell 1.0 percent to 19,285.63
points, the lowest closing level since March 16. It had hit a
fresh, 15-year high of 19,778.60 on Monday.
    Volume of Nikkei 225 futures was high, with about
100,000 contracts made, the highest since March 11.
    "Hedge funds and commodity trading advisers are seen taking
profits and unwinding their options positions before the first
quarter ends," said a senior trader at a foreign brokerage.
    For the week, the Nikkei benchmark dropped 1.4 percent,
snapping its 6-week winning streak and the biggest weekly drop
since mid-January.
    Analysts said that long-term views on the Japanese market
remained positive based on hopes of buying by Japanese pension
funds including the Government Pension Investment Fund as well
as expectations for better shareholder returns and rosy
corporate earnings.
    Exporters suffered, with Toyota Motor Corp falling
1.4 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 1.6 percent and
Nikon Corp shedding 2.5 percent.
     Toshiba Corp dropped 3.4 percent after SanDisk
Corp cut its revenue outlook and its shares tumbled
18.4 percent overnight. SanDisk buys wafers for its NAND chips
from a joint venture with Toshiba.
    Bucking the weakness, Panasonic rose 3.2 percent
after it said it was ready to spend 1 trillion yen ($8.4
billion) on acquisitions over the next four years.
    The broader Topix dropped 1.0 percent to 1,552.78,
with 31 of its 33 subsectors in the red. Volume was high, with
2.57 billion shares changing hands, the highest level in two
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.9 percent to
    June 10-year JGB futures shed 0.42 point to close
at 147.44, after dropping as low as 146.99, their lowest since
March 16.

 (Editing by Eric Meijer & Kim Coghill)