* Analysts hope China will take stimulus steps to aid market
* Murata surges after hiking its fiscal year forecast
* Kawasaki Kisen tumbles after a brokerage downgrade
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Monday morning, reaching a 1-1/2 weeks low, on lacklustre China economic surveys and weak U.S. stocks, while investors traded on individual company earnings news.
The Nikkei dropped 1.7 percent to 18,759.77 in mid-morning trade after slipping to 18,735.60, the lowest level since Oct. 22. The Nikkei rose the last three sessions last week.
An official survey released over the weekend showed that activity in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in October for a third straight month, fuelling fears the economy may still be losing momentum in the fourth quarter despite a raft of stimulus measures.
On Monday, a private survey showed that China’s factory activity fell for an eighth straight month in October but at a slower pace as export orders revived.
Wall Street on Friday was hit by downbeat corporate earnings, which dragged down Nikkei futures trade on Monday morning before the cash market opened.
“Global market worries triggered selling while the market was prone to profit-taking from last week’s gains,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
Analysts said that in the mid-term, expectations that Beijing will release measures to support the economy will likely support the mood.
Exporters lost ground, with Honda Motor Co falling 1.5 percent, Nissan Motor Co 1.7 percent and Panasonic Corp 2.2 percent.
Shipper Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, which was downgraded by CLSA after a dismal earnings result, stumbled 8.1 percent.
Kawasaki cut its full-year operating profit forecast to 24 billion yen from 39 billion yen for the year ending March 2016. CLSA cut its rating to ‘outperform’ from ‘buy’, citing a negative outlook for container prices.
Murata Manufacturing Co soared more than 5 percent after reporting that operating profit for the April-September period jumped 71 percent on the year to 152.14 billion yen and hiked its full-year forecast.
The broader Topix shed 1.8 percent to 1,530.02 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 2.0 percent to 13,726.12. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)