Nikkei falls to 1-week low after Fed; strong yen hurts sentiment
* Market will focus on U.S. economic indicators even more - traders * Semiconductor makers fall on low "BB ratio" By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, June 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell to a fresh one-week low on Thursday after the market digested the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish stance on a rate hike, while a stronger yen hurt overall sentiment. The Nikkei share average dropped 0.7 percent to 20,078.47 in midmorning trade after falling to as low as 20,042.43, the lowest level since June 10. After a closely-watched two-day meeting, the Fed said the economy was likely strong enough to support an interest rate increase by the end of the year. But it lowered its expectations for 2015 economic growth because of a weak start to the year and reduced its growth and federal funds rate forecast. "The Fed's view on the rate hike gave little surprise to the market," said Masaru Hamasaki, head of market & investment information department at Amundi Japan. "The market is rather concerned about the U.S. economic view in the future." He said that investors will focus on U.S. economic data more carefully, and if a data disappoints them, Japanese cyclical stocks like exporters may get hit because the dollar will likely lose steam against the yen. On Thursday, banks and exporters languished. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shed 1.2 percent and Mizuho Financial Group dropped 1.6 percent. Honda Motor Co dropped 0.7 percent and Panasonic Corp declined 0.8 percent after the dollar slipped to JPY=, from a high of 124.465. Semiconductor equipment makers underperformed after Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan said that BB ratio, or book-to-bill ratio, fell to 0.93 in May, falling below 1.0 for a third straight month. A figure below 1.0 means equipment was over supplied. Sumco Corp dropped 3.6 percent and Advantest Corp shed 1.7 percent. The broader Topix fell 0.5 percent to 1,624.83 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.6 percent to 14,653.50. (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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