Nikkei slips after hitting 20,000 mark, profit-taking prevails

jueves 9 de abril de 2015 22:20 GYT
 

* Nikkei succumbs to profit-taking after hitting 20,000 mark
    * Market divided over whether 20,000 goal or mid-point in
rally
    * Drugmakers, shipping lines fall
    * Retailers remain upbeat on economic outlook

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, April 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
slipped on Friday when the initial euphoria as it topped the
psychological milestone of 20,000 was quickly taken over by
selling to lock in the past few months' solid gains.
    The Nikkei fell 0.2 percent to 19,897.97, reversing
its course after having risen above the 20,000 mark for the
first time in 15 years. 
    "Market opinion is divided over whether the 20,000 mark is
just one point in a rally or a goal. Up until now, both camps
were buying but from now some investors will be selling," said
Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.
    The rally has been driven by many factors, including hopes
of higher shareholder returns, rise in corporate earnings,
recovery in domestic consumption and more share buying, both
real and imagined, by Japanese public investors.
    The market expects Japanese corporate earnings to rise 10 to
15 percent this year, but with the Nikkei already up 14 percent
so far this year, some investors see limited justification to 
chase more gains. 
    Drugmakers, the best performer so far this year,
were among leading decliners, falling 1.5 percent. Astellas
Pharma fell 1.9 percent and Takeda Pharmaceutical
 dropped 0.6 percent.
    Shipping lines dropped 2.1 percent, with Mitsui
OSK Lines falling 2.9 percent and Kawasaki Kisen
 was down 2.8 percent.
    Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo casual
clothing chain, rose 4.0 percent after it raised its guidance
for the year ending in August.
    Ryohin Keikaku shot up 14.3 percent after the 
operator of Muji stores forecast solid profit growth for the
year to February.
    The valuation of retailers and some other domestic
demand-oriented shares, such as food companies, has become high
by historical standards.
    But some market players say these shares are not necessarily
expensive given that the prospects that Japan is exiting more
than a decade of deflation mean their revenues are likely to
grow even without economic growth in real terms.
    Hopes of an end to deflation and other structural changes
such as a greater readiness among Japanese companies to boost
shareholder returns keep some investors bullish on the overall
market.
    "Many investors have been sceptical about Abenomics last
year. But it has finally started to dawn on many investors that
Abenomics is about reforming the corporate sector," said Hisashi
Kuroda, general manager of equity at Meiji Yasuda Asset
Management.
    The broader Topix fell 0.4 percent to 1,587.30 while
 the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.5 percent to
14,439.51.

 (Editing by Eric Meijer)