TOKYO, April 25 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Monday morning as investors cashed in profits from a four-day rally that last week lifted the benchmark Nikkei index to an 11-1/2 week high amid rising expectations of further central bank easing.
The Nikkei share average slid 0.7 percent to 17,446.20 during late morning trading.
"We've had a strong 20 days and now is the point where the index will break out or move sideways in anticipation of further catalysts," said Martin King, co-managing director at Tyton Capital Advisors.
"We are also seeing the yen recapitulate against the U.S. dollar following word of the Bank of Japan's consideration of offering bank loans with negative rates similar to the ECB in the Euro zone."
Market participants said investors' attention will remain sharply focused on key corporate earnings news and on central bank policy meetings due to be held later this week in the U.S. and in Japan.
The yen hovered near a three-week low on expectations the BOJ could start lending to banks at negative rates, boosting morale over the profit outlook for exporters.
Japan's automakers, which rely heavily on export sales for profits, outperformed with Toyota Motor Corp climbing 1 percent higher and Mazda Motor Corp gaining 1.2 percent. Home appliance and electronics maker Panasonic Corp edged up 0.3 percent during late morning trade.
Sony Corp plunged more than 6 percent after announcing on Friday that it would delay announcing its earnings forecasts for the 2016 fiscal year in order to assess the impact of earthquake damage on its profits. The electronics giant had been scheduled to releases its earnings forecasts on April 28, but will now wait until May due to the effects of the earthquakes that have halted activity at its image sensor plant in southern Japan.
Nippon Express Co Ltd climbed 1.9 percent to buck the morning's weakness after the Nikkei business daily reported the transportation company's operating profit apparently rose 8 percent for the fiscal year despite lower sales.
The broader Topix slid 0.5 percent to sit at 1,400.70 with all but six of its 33 subindexes in negative territory during late morning trade.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.5 percent to 12,688.82. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Sam Holmes)