Nikkei slides as fresh yen strength pressures exporters
By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO, April 11 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell in choppy trade on Monday morning as persistent strength in the yen pressured exporters while investors shrugged off early signs of stabilisation in capital spending.
The Nikkei share average fell 1.4 percent to 15,607.77 during mid-morning trade, ignoring data showing Japan's core machinery orders fell less than expected in February.
"While February's machinery orders fell less than anticipated, Japan markets remain weighed down by a strengthening yen and uncertainty surrounding when, or if, the Bank of Japan will intervene," said Andrew Meredith, co-managing director at Tyton Capital Advisors.
The yen climbed to a fresh 17-month high against the U.S. dollar during the morning session, adding pressure on Japanese authorities to do more to tame the currency's strength as it continues to pressure exporters and reverse the gains made by "Abenomics".
Household electronics giant Panasonic Corp and tire exporter Bridgestone Corp each slipped 1.2 percent by mid-morning. Japan's automakers, which rely heavily on export sales, were even more heavily sold amid the yen's strength. Shares of Toyota Motor Corp plunged 3.5 percent while Honda Motor Co Ltd shed 3.3 percent and Nissan Motor Co Ltd fell 3 percent.
Domestic-facing shares also suffered, with furniture and home product store Shimachu Co tumbling more than 7 percent after cutting its earnings forecast for the year, citing sour consumer sentiment.
Dairy and beverage company Yakult Honsha Co bucked the morning's weakness, soaring as much as 9.7 percent after announcing it would respond to rising raw material costs by raising the cost of some popular home delivery products.
A bounce in oil prices helped the Topix subindex for oil and coal climb 1 percent to become the only one of 33 subindexes in positive territory in mid-morning trade.
The broader Topix fell 1.5 percent to 1,269.02 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 1.5 percent to 11,445.39. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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