Nikkei slips from 18-1/2-yr high, sentiment remains positive

miércoles 24 de junio de 2015 22:26 GYT

* Deadlock in Greece talks pushes down share prices
    * Sentiment strong after break of historical milestone
    * Passage of U.S. fast track bills boosts TPP hopes

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, June 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
edged lower on Thursday as negotiations to avert a Greek debt
default stumbled, but market sentiment remained bullish a day
after the Nikkei hit its highest level since 1996.
    The Nikkei opened down 0.4 percent, in the wake of
falls in U.S. and European shares after Athens rejected
counter-proposals from creditors. 
    But it pared most of the losses to trade at 20,854.14, down
just 0.1 percent on the day, having hit an 18-1/2-year high of
20,952.71 on Wednesday on optimism on earnings recovery and
higher payouts to shareholders.
    "The underlying trend is extremely positive. Obviously there
are hurdles with regard to Greece but the tea leaves are looking
more encouraging for a resolution without a 'Grexit'," said
Stefan Worrall, director of equity at Credit Suisse.
    Also helping to underpin the mood, the U.S. Senate passed
legislation that would help President Barack Obama seal a
12-nation Pacific Rim trade pact, in which Japan will be the
second largest economy after the United States. 
    Investors hope the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will
benefit a wide range of Japanese businesses from truck makers
now facing high U.S. tariff to food importers paying high
Japanese import customs.
    Eiji Kinouchi, chief technical analyst at Daiwa Securities
said many Asian shares stagnated in 1990s because they were left
out of regional economic partnership such as North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU.)
    "Asian countries that have been pushing for TPP
aggressively, such as Singapore and South Korea, have seen their
share prices. The TPP will help Japanese shares exit from their
long-term stagnation," he said.
    Truckmaker Isuzu Motors rose 1.0 percent while
Rokko Butter jumped 6.6 percent.
    Still, many exporter shares retreated on Thursday on
profit-taking, with carmaker shares falling 0.7
    Toyota Motor Co fell 0.9 percent while Nissan Motor
dropped 1.1 percent. 
    Robot maker Fanuc fell 2.7 percent while machinery
maker Komatsu shed 2.0 percent.
    The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent to 1,675.72,
slipping from eight-year high touched on Wednesday while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.3 percent to

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)