Nikkei little changed, Topix up as investors look to improved earnings

lunes 13 de abril de 2015 23:09 GYT
 

* Investors take profits after Nikkei hits 20,000
    * Market supported by economy, corporate reform hopes
    * Food companies succumb to profit-taking

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, April 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
flat on Tuesday as investors preferred to pull back a little
after the recent rally as they prepared for the looming earnings
season. 
    The broader Topix posted small gains despite
overnight weakness on Wall Street, however, underpinned by hopes
of earnings growth and expectations the economy will pick up
momentum in coming months. 
    The Nikkei average ended morning trade almost flat
at 19,896.94, off a 15-year intraday high of 20,006.00 touched
on Friday.
    "Those who want to sell are selling after the Nikkei hit
20,000. I believe the market right now is in a stage of
preparing for earnings," said Hiroki Takashi, chief strategist
at Monex Securities.
    Starting from late in the month, many Japanese companies
will report their earnings for the year that ended on March 31
and guidance for the new financial year.
    Investors expect Corporate Japan to continue to post
earnings growth thanks to a cheaper yen boosting exporters'
margins and on a fall in input prices including oil and other
raw materials.
    "So far the market has been bought on expectations. At the
moment, few people feel the economy is doing well but once you
start to see rising wages and an increase in domestic
production, there will be buying based on those facts, not just
hopes," said Tsuyoshi Shimizu, chief strategist at Mizuho Asset
Management.
    Japanese shares have rallied so far this year on optimism
over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to boost profitability at
companies and to make public investors buy more stocks.
    On the day, investors were booking profits in recent gainers
such as food companies.
    Kikkoman Corp fell 2.0 percent while Meiji Holdings
 also dropped 2.0 percent. Both had risen more than 30
percent so far this year.
    Industrial robot maker Fanuc, another strong
outperformer, fell 1.7 percent, contributing to the Nikkei's
underperformance due to its heavy weighting in the average.
    On the other hand, the broader Topix rose 0.3
percent to 1,590.17 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 
gained 0.1 percent to 14,436.47.
    Among the top gainers were Sony, which rose 1.6
percent to hit a 6 1/2-year high. Softbank rose 1.5
percent.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)