3 Min Read
* Nikkei off 0.3 pct at mid-day break * Index may later breach 9,200 if dollar hits 81 yen -analyst * Weaker yen buoys exporters * Toyota at one-month high on report seeing higher profit f'cast By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei inched down on Monday, with investors shying away from risk before the results of a tightly fought U.S. election, although a weaker yen limited losses while hopes for Toyota Motor Corp.'s earnings supported the index. Toyota rose 2.4 percent to a one-month high at 3,215 yen after public broadcaster NHK said it was set to slightly raise its operating profit forecast. At the midday break, the Nikkei was down 0.3 percent to 9,023.36, while the broader Topix was 0.4 percent lower at 749.19. Analysts said that a softer yen would continue to buoy the overall market and that the Nikkei should trade between 8,950 and 9,100 in the next few days. "The presidential election will likely set the tone for the currency market. If the dollar rises to 81 yen, investors may chase the market to around a September closing high of 9,200 over the next month or so," said Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. The yen was quoted at 80.515 to the dollar on Monday, hovering near a six-month low of 80.680 hit on Friday. "The yen seems to have made a turnaround to stay weak, and Japanese stocks seem to have picked up accordingly. But what's negative is that U.S. stocks weakened before the presidential election," said Yutaka Yoshino, chief technical analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities. U.S. stocks ended an unusual storm-shortened trading week with a sell-off on Friday as major indexes erased early gains on a better-than-expected payrolls report, with some analysts pointing to disappointing third-quarter earnings. Japanese exporters were helped by the yen's decline, with Honda Motor Corp adding 1.2 percent to 2,497 yen, and Nissan Motor Corp gaining 0.2 percent to 687 yen. Amid sluggish global growth, company earnings have been weak this quarterly reporting season. About 56 percent of the 101 Nikkei companies that have reported earnings undershot market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compared with 54 percent in the previous quarter. Yamada Denki Co fell 5.8 percent to 3,225 yen after the home electronics retailer slashed its operating profit forecast for the year ending March 2013 by 39 percent to 57.3 billion yen, citing weaker sales. Shares of eAccess Ltd surged 13 percent to 51,500 yen, a 19-month high, after mobile operator Softbank Corp said on Friday it would change its share swap ratio with eAccess, which it acquired in a $1.84 billion deal at the start of last month. The benchmark Nikkei was up 6.7 percent this year, trailing a 12.5 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 12.4 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index.