Nikkei eases on profit-taking; Sharp dives as it seeks aid

lunes 2 de marzo de 2015 22:06 GYT
 

* Sharp dives to 3-week low
    * Chip-related shares outperform after Nasdaq rises
    * Nikkei futures snap a 13-day winning streak
    * Regional banks lower after CLSA cuts ratings

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell
in choppy trade on Tuesday  as investors took profits from the
recent gains, but losses were limited as sentiment was supported
by strong Wall Street performances.
    Sharp Corp tumbled as much as 9.8 percent on news
that it is planning to seek aid from its main lenders, as it
expects losses to mount this year.
    A source told Reuters that it is looking to request aid from
Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ 
in a bid to shore up finances needed to restructure.
 
    The Nikkei fell 0.3 percent to 18,775.73 points by
mid-morning after bouncing between positive and negative
territory in early trade. But it remained near 15-year highs.
    Meantime, Nikkei futures dropped for the first time
in 14 days, implying that there may be profit-taking after the
recent rallies.
    Tech shares such as semiconductor-equipment makers
outperformed after the Nasdaq on Monday closed above 5,000 for
the first time since the year 2000 dot-com bubble as tech stocks
were boosted by deals.
    "Nasdaq's strength implies strong demand in the
semiconductor industry so Japanese chip-related shares are in
demand," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa
Securities.
    Index-heavy stocks, Kyocera Corp and Tokyo Electron
Ltd rose 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, and
added a hefty 15 points to the Nikkei index.
    But Sato said that due to some technical signs that the
market is overbought, profit-taking is possible in the overall
market, while investors await more cues such as U.S. jobs data
on Friday.
    Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp 
falling 0.6 percent and Honda Motor Co rising 0.4
percent.
    Some banks languished after their ratings were reduced by a
brokerage.
    Among those were 77 Bank Ltd, which dropped 1.1
percent and Chiba Bank Ltd, which shed 1.2 percent
after CLSA cut their ratings to "underperform" from "buy,"
saying that it urged caution on the sector after the recent
rally and adding that some of the share prices were close to the
brokerage's targets.
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,524.76 and the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.1 percent to 13,848.27.
    

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)