Nikkei slides to one-week low on profit-taking, yen strength
By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO, March 9 (Reuters) - Japan's benchmark Nikkei index fell to a one-week low on Wednesday morning as investors took profits amid yen strength that continued to squeeze exporters, with broader sentiment blunted by slipping oil prices and concerns over China's economy.
The Nikkei share average was 1.6 percent lower at 16,521.83 during midmorning trade.
"This week we're seeing a lot of profit-taking after a buoyant month in Japanese equity, said Martin King, co-managing director at Tyton Capital Advisors.
"The yen has continued to strengthen against the dollar and we expect to see Japanese exporters squeezed by a flight to Japan's safe-haven currency right up until U.S. rates increase and investors look to reallocate risk. The new status quo for investors requires keen attention to central bank intervention as growth is superceded by liquidity and quantitative easing."
The yen was broadly firmer early on Wednesday as demand for the safe-haven currency picked up after disappointing Chinese trade data took the wind out of broad gains in global risk appetite.
The dollar slipped more than 0.7 percent to 112.5 against the yen during midmorning trade, trimming the profit outlook for Japan's exporters. Panasonic Corp fell 1.7 percent while Nissan Motor Co Ltd shares declined 2.5 percent and Bridgestone Corp slid 2.8 percent.
Broader risk appetite was also hurt by falling oil prices, which ended a six-day winning streak on Tuesday after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles reached record highs the previous week.
The broader Topix fell 1.7 percent to 1,325.07 with all but two of its 33 subindexes in negative territory in midmorning trade.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 1.7 percent to 11,992.09. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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