Japan's Nikkei sees slim gains after fall; Sharp jumps

Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:21am GMT

* Sharp shoots up on news of TV tie-up talks in China
    * Sony gains 5 percent on Goldman Sachs upgrade
    * Exporters reclaim some of previous session's losses
    * Boeing suppliers lag

    By Sophie Knight
    TOKYO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average edged up
on Thursday, regaining some of the ground lost in its biggest
one-day drop in eight months the previous day, with Sharp Corp
 in the spotlight after news it was in tie-up talks for
its TV business in China.
    A slightly softer yen helped exporters bounce back, with
Honda Motor Co Ltd gaining 2.3 percent and Toyota Motor
Corp recovering 1.1 percent from its fall in the prior
session, when the Nikkei dropped 2.6 percent on a firmer
Japanese currency.
    Sharp climbed 10.2 percent after the Nikkei newspaper
reported that the struggling company was in the final stages of
talks with Lenovo on a tie-up in television operations in China.
Sources later confirmed the report to Reuters. 
Sharp was the most-traded stock on the main board by turnover.
    Sony Corp was not far behind, jumping 5 percent
after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to "neutral" from
"sell", saying the stock no longer looked expensive as its
competitors have gained on a weaker yen.
    The Nikkei was up 0.2 percent at 10,619.74 by the
midday break on Thursday, after a brief foray into negative
territory. That, and strong gains for defensives such as
pharmaceuticals and food companies,
suggested tempered risk appetite after the benchmark hit a
32-month high on Tuesday.
    "I think we're seeing a short term correction ... there are
expectations of improved earnings due to the weaker yen, but not
for the last quarter. The recent rally may have been too sharp,"
said Shigeo Mito, manager of equity investment at Sumitomo
Mitsui Trust Group.
    The Nikkei has rallied about 26 percent over the past two
months, driven by a softening in the yen after Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe pressured the Bank of Japan to introduce aggressive
policy easing to kickstart the economy and set an annual
inflation target of 2 percent.
    
    'WAIT-AND-SEE MODE'
    Ahead of its next policy meeting on Jan. 21-22, the central
bank bought 22.7 billion yen ($256.5 million) worth of
exchange-traded funds to prop up the market on Wednesday. It was
the first time the bank has done so in almost three months.
    "We're in wait-and-see mode for the BOJ, I don't think
volume is going to be that impressive today. The trouble is I
don't think they will be able to pull any surprises beyond
announcing the inflation target everyone already expects," said
Hirokazu Fujiki, manager of investment strategy at Okasan
Securities.
    Fujiki said some investors were also focusing on
China-related stocks ahead of the Chinese GDP data for the last
quarter of 2012 due on Friday, which is expected to come in at
7.8 percent growth, beating the previous quarter's 7.4 percent
and snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion.
    Komatsu Ltd rose 1.9 percent while the Nikkei China
50, an index of 50 Japanese companies with high exposure
to the country, outperformed with a gain of 0.8 percent.
    The broader Topix inched up 0.3 percent to 890.65.
    Suppliers to Boeing Co dropped after the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it would temporarily
ground the new 787 jet after a second incident involving battery
failures forced one Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in
Japan. 
    GS Yuasa Corp, which makes the batteries, dropped 5
percent. Among other suppliers, Toray Industries Inc 
slipped 2.2 percent and Osaka Titanium Technologies Co 
fell 3.2 percent.
    All Nippon Airways Co Ltd slipped 0.6 percent and
Japan Airlines Co Ltd lost 0.3 percent after both
grounded their Dreamliner fleets for checks following the
incident.
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