Nikkei poised to snap 3-day winning streak; oil and brokerage stocks gain

jueves 23 de abril de 2015 23:16 GYT

* Energy-related and brokerage shares outperform
    * Kao tumbles as Q1 earnings slump
    * Free trade pact in focus next week

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, April 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
looked poised to snap a three-day winning streak on Friday as
investors took profits, although energy-related shares
outperformed on a rise in crude oil prices and brokers were in
favour on strong earnings prospects.
    Tokyo stocks had climbed over the last three days in a
continuation of strong gains for the year, boosted by
expectations of higher shareholder returns and an influx of
money from public pension funds.
    "Since the index has risen too fast, a short-term correction
is likely," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at
Daiwa Securities. "There are few catalysts to lift stocks
further now."
    The Nikkei 225 benchmark index was 0.7 percent lower
at 20,039.23 in midmorning trade. It has gained 2 percent so far
for the week and 15 percent for the year to date.
    Kao Corp fell 3.3 percent after first-quarter 
operating profit tumbled some 40 percent, with the detergent and
cosmetics maker calling the slump a reaction to robust earnings
in the year-earlier period when revenue boomed ahead of a sales
tax hike.
    Other notable gainers included Nomura Holdings 
which rose 1.9 percent and Daiwa Securities Group which
added 0.7 percent. The Nikkei's rise to above 20,000 this month
and its ability to maintain that level has investors optimistic
about their earnings prospects, market participants say.
    Inpex Corp rose 1.5 percent and Japan Petroleum
Exploration gained 1.3 percent after crude oil prices
hit 2015 highs as Saudi Arabia and its allies maintained a
bombing blitz in Yemen that heightened concerns about the
security of Middle East oil supplies. 
    But airline shares, which are beneficiaries of weak oil
prices, were sold. ANA Holdings shed 0.8 percent and
Japan Airlines declined 3.1 percent. 
    Next week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe will meet at a summit on April 28 and
markets are focused on whether there will be progress in
negotiations for a free trade pact.
    Earlier this week, Japan's top trade negotiator sounded an
optimistic note that he could reach a deal with the United
States that is essential to creating a free trade pact covering
12 countries. 
    The broader Topix dropped 0.4 percent to 1,618.09
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.5 percent to

 (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)