August 15, 2018 / 3:28 AM / 4 months ago

Nikkei edges lower as profit-taking hits; index heavyweights fall

* Turkish crisis differs from past emerging market ones - analysts

* Falls by SoftBank, Fanuc hurt the index

* Exporters slip too, in spite of yen weakness

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged lower on Wednesday morning as profit-taking hit after the previous day’s sharp gains, though the drops were limited as the yen’s weakness against the dollar aided investor sentiment.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.4 percent to 22,270.90 at the midday break, after soaring 2.3 percent - its biggest one-day percentage gain since March - on Tuesday.

Japanese stocks were volatile early this week. They were hurt by contagion fears after the Turkish lira plunged and investors fled to the safe-haven yen, whose strengthening cuts Japanese manufacturers’ profits from abroad. Later, the lira stabilized, helping Japanese stocks rebound.

“We cannot be overly optimistic but the Turkish turmoil alone will not likely have a major impact on Japanese companies’ shares,” said Masashi Oda, general manager of the strategic investment department at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

He added that the market consensus is that Turkey’s currency crisis is different from an emerging market crisis in the past which was led by declining liquidity of U.S. dollars amid higher U.S. yields.

On Wednesday, profit-taking hit recent gainers among Japanese shares. Index heavyweights SoftBank Group and Fanuc Corp fell 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

Exporters were broadly lower, with Toyota Motor falling 0.6 percent and Honda Motor dropping 0.9 percent, while Panasonic Corp shedding 1.0 percent.

Suruga Bank tumbled 4.3 percent after it said an employee falsely cancelled customers’ accounts and used 165 million yen to lend to business partners.

The broader Topix declined 0.4 percent to 1,703.63. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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