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