Nikkei snaps winning streak on profit-taking; mood still upbeat

Thu May 9, 2013 8:27am BST

* Securities shares outperform on booming market
    * Toyota, Bridgestone fall after forecast disappoints
    * Toshiba sags after weak earnings
    * Japan outperforms peers but still has upside -analyst

    By Tomo Uetake
    TOKYO, May 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average fell for the
first time in three sessions on Thursday, with profit-taking
triggering a reversal from the morning session, although
strength in securities shares limited losses.
    The benchmark Nikkei slid 0.7 percent to close at
14,191.48, after rising as much as 0.9 percent to 14,409.82,
just off Wednesday's intra-session peak of 14,421.38, its
highest since June 2008.
    "In early trade, the market attempted in vain to break out
to 14,500 ahead of the option SQ on Friday. Then investors moved
to lock in profits," said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, the chief executive
of Investrust, referring to the monthly settlement of a swathe
of options known as a "special quotation" in Japan.
    Yet the mood is far from gloomy, added Fukunaga. "It's just
more like the carnival time is over."
    The real estate sector dropped 3 percent and the
warehouse and wharf sector lost 2.5 percent as
investors booked profits.
    Bridgestone Corp tumbled 6.6 percent after the tyre
maker kept its operating profit outlook unchanged for the year
through December at 382 billion yen ($3.9 billion), 6.8 percent
below a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S median forecast.
    Toshiba Corp extended losses, dropping 4.9 percent
after falling 5 percent on Wednesday, when it posted a
worse-than-expected operating profit due to weak TV sales.
 
    Toyota Motor Corp slipped 1.4 percent after the
automaker's forecast for the year ending March 2014 disappointed
investors hoping for a bolder forecast. 
    The company said it expects to make an operating profit of
1.8 trillion yen ($18.2 billion) in the current year, below its
peak of 2.3 trillion yen in 2008, based on the assumption that
the U.S. dollar will stay at an average of 90
yen. 
    Brokerage shares lent some support, with the sector
sub-index advancing 1 percent, on hopes of an
increase in commission fees from a rising market. 
    The Topix fell 1.1 percent to 1,181.83 on Thursday,
with a volume of 3.82 billion similar to Wednesday's trade,
which is lower than the average 4.31 billion shares changing
hands last month. 
    
    NO SIGN OF STOPPING?
    The Nikkei is trading 5.7 percent above its 25-day moving
average of 13,428.84, which indicates that shares are still
overbought.
    After a brief pause, the Japanese market has resumed its
record run in recent sessions to chalk up a 37 percent gain
since the beginning of the year, underpinned by central bank and
government policies to revive growth and as the United States,
Germany and China snap a run of soft data with upbeat economic
reports.
    Over the same period, both the benchmark S&P 500 and
the Dow Jones industrial average have added 15 percent
and the FTSEurofirst 300 index has advanced 8.4
percent.
    "Japan outperforms its global peers. But it has more upside
because speaking from a standpoint of an expected improving
economy, Japan seems most promising (for investors)," said
Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. 
    "More growth measures are expected in the second half of
this year by the Japanese government, while in the U.S., people
are still carefully monitoring its economic data... European
markets started to pick up but worries about persistent debt
problems linger."