Nikkei falls to 1-week low on renewed oil price drop
* Shares of energy firms fall on sliding oil prices
* Battered banks outperform
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average stumbled to a one-week low on Wednesday morning hit by a renewed drop in oil prices while a stronger yen dragged down exporters.
Crude prices settled down more than 4 percent as Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi effectively ruled out production cuts anytime soon. Inpex Corp fell 1.1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co shed 1.7 percent.
By 0156 GMT, the Nikkei dropped 0.4 percent to 15,986.19, after falling to as low as 15,753.77, the lowest level since Feb. 17.
Japanese equities have been volatile since the beginning of the year, with the market swayed by fluctuations in the yen and oil prices.
Analysts said investors remain on edge as they are worried the global slowdown may be more serious than expected and that the yen will continued to be favoured as markets remain risk averse.
"When the yen rises, Japanese equities are the ones to suffer selling the most as investors are worried about exporters' earnings for the next fiscal year. Unfortunately this trend may last for a while," said Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. Continuación...