Nikkei edges down on profit-taking; MUFG rises on brokerage upgrade
* Low turnover shows long-term investors not participating - trader * Trading choppy after investors stay on the sidelines * MUFG surges after BoA Merrill hikes it to 'buy' By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged down Tuesday morning in choppy trade as investors took profits after the index hit a three-month high the previous day, but losses were limited by another rise on Wall Street. Bucking the trend, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group gained 1.5 percent and was the third most traded stock after Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its rating to 'buy' from 'neutral', citing strong non-traditional lending. The Nikkei shed 0.3 percent to 15,081.64 in mid-morning trade after rising as high as 15,184.77 earlier. On Monday, the index added 0.3 percent to 15,124.00, its highest closing level since March 11, helped by a solid U.S. jobs report. However, Monday's turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board was a two-week low of 1.567 trillion yen. Traders said long-term foreign investors stayed on the sidelines. "Short-term hedge funds and retail investors are the main players," said Makoto Kikuchi, the chief executive at Myojo Asset Management. "Trading has been subdued and it may stay this way for a while." He said that in the short-term, foreign investors were awaiting such cues as the Japanese government's planned release of the third arrow of 'Abenomics,' or long-term growth strategy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce a package of broad economic policies, along with a detailed "growth strategy" of structural reforms, around June 27. Abe says he wants to cut the corporate tax rate, but resistance from fiscal hawks prevented such a proposal from being part of an outline of the package released on Monday. "Unless the Japanese market can impress mid-to-long foreign investors, it would be difficult to expect substantial rises," Kikuchi said. Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp dropped 0.3 percent, Honda Motor Co gained 0.5 percent and Sony Corp shed 0.2 percent. The weak yen trend paused, with the dollar trading at 102.49 yen, staying below a one-month high of 102.80 yen set last Wednesday. The broader Topix gained 0.2 percent to 1,237.71, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.2 percent to 11,273.38. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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