Nikkei hit by strong yen, profit warning jolts Fast Retailing shares
By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO, April 8 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Friday morning after the U.S. dollar plunged below 108 yen for the first time in 1-1/2 years, putting exporters to the sword, while a profit warning from apparel giant Fast Retailing also weighed heavily on indexes.
The Nikkei share average slipped 0.6 percent to end the morning session at 15,661.63, and is on track to finish the week about three percent lower.
A broad swath of shares were sold as exporters and other forex-exposed firms saw profit outlooks trimmed by the yen's strength against the dollar as it climbed as much as 1.6 percent to its strongest since October 2014.
Shares of Sony Corp fell 1.5 percent while Hitachi Ltd slipped 0.8 percent and tire exporter Bridgestone Corp declined 1.1 percent.
Concerned about the rising yen's impact on the trade-reliant economy, Japanese officials have hinted at intervention. Finance Minister Taro Aso issued a fresh warning on Friday, saying that rapid currency moves were undesirable and that authorities will take steps as needed.
"Ahead of the weekend we're seeing some unwinding of long positions, and less long buying coming in from investors due to the incredible velocity of the yen's appreciation," said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading.
"Fast Retailing is also yoking the market this morning."
Fast Retailing shares plummeted more than 11 percent after the apparel company cut its net profit forecast by half, citing significant declines in first-half operating income from its Uniqlo brand outlets in Japan and abroad. Continuación...