Nikkei choppy as fiscal year-end nears; Yahoo Japan tumbles on eAccess buy
* Yahoo Japan tumbles on eAccess buy * Cautious trading before fiscal year end, April 1 tax hike By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were choppy on Friday morning, as investors booked profits ahead of the fiscal year end and as Yahoo Japan Corp dived on questions about strategy following news it will buy mobile network operator eAccess from SoftBank Corp. The Nikkei share avearge was off 0.2 percent at 14,647.17 in mid-morning trade after pension-fund buying drove it 1.0 percent higher to 14,622.89 on Thursday, the highest closing price since March 13. For the week, the Nikkei is up around 2.9 percent. Analysts said that trading will likely remain subdued as the end of the fiscal year approached, and as investors brace for a potential hit to consumption from a sales tax hike on April 1. "Uncertainly of the tax hike impact may drag, so while waiting for more macro catalysts, investors will look at individual news for now," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. The spotlight was on Yahoo Japan, which slumped 10.9 percent to a near four-month low and was the fourth most traded stock on news that it will buy eAccess from Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank for 324 billion yen ($3.17 billion). "Yahoo is a content provider. What are they picking up spectrum for?" a Tokyo-based senior trader at a foreign bank said. "This is a very much non-core business. It doesn't make much rational sense for them." Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp rising 0.1 percent, Sony Corp flat and Honda Motor Co up 0.3 percent. Also underperforming the market was Shiseido Co, which dropped 2.7 percent after Citigroup cut its rating to 'neutral' from 'buy', saying that the brokerage expects a drop in its operating profit for the year ending March 2015 after having a likely strong year this fiscal year ending March 2014. The broader Topix fell 0.5 percent to 1,170.89, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.5 percent to 10,598.97. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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