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Nikkei falls below key 9,000 level as slew of firms trade ex-div
September 26, 2012 / 3:01 AM / 5 years ago

Nikkei falls below key 9,000 level as slew of firms trade ex-div

* About 55 pct of Topix companies go ex-dividend
    * Nikkei falls to two-week low; Topix drops 1.7 pct
    * Semi-related firms suffer as Infineon sees weaker Q4

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average shed
1.7 percent to below the key 9,000-mark on Wednesday as a raft
of companies went ex-dividend, while concerns over whether
debt-laden Spain will seek a bailout also dampened sentiment.
    About 55 percent of Topix companies have passed the
deadline for buyers of the stocks to get rights to first-half
dividends.
    By the midday break, the Nikkei dropped 155.82
points to 8,935.72, hitting a two-week low and breaking below
its 25-day moving average at 8,985.00.
    Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and
Honda Motor Co were among the companies trading
ex-dividend, down between 1.7 and 4.8 percent.
    A Toyota executive said the automaker was likely to slow
production in China as anti-Japan sentiment in the country hurts
sales, while Nissan said it would suspend car production at its
Chinese joint venture from Sept. 27, three days earlier than a
scheduled holiday from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7. 
    But a senior dealer at a foreign brokerage said the
production halt should be positive for the carmakers as they
could run down their excess inventories.
    "The fact that these guys have a nice excuse to cut down
production in China where they are running what could be argued
as being slightly excessive inventory levels is good news to the
companies," he said.
    China-related companies have been taken a battering on
concerns over faltering Chinese growth, while anti-Japanese
sentiment in the country arising from a territorial dispute,
could add to their difficulties. 
    The Nikkei China 50, made up of Japanese firms with
heavy exposure to the world's second-largest economy, shed 2.5
percent.
    "We will have reporting season next month. The negative
impact (of the anti-Japan sentiment) will appear on the earnings
of auto and consumer-related companies," said Hisao Matsuura,
equity strategist at Nomura Securities. 
    But he said share prices of China exposed companies have
factored in a lot of the bad news, so the downside risk for them
should be limited.
    
    SPUTTERING GLOBAL GROWTH
    Construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd and
Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd, whose fortunes
are closely tied to China and global growth, eased 2.3 and 3
percent, respectively. Their U.S. rival Caterpillar Inc,
the world's largest earth-moving equipment maker, cut its 2015
earnings outlook on Monday.
    Sluggish global growth, even though the U.S. Federal Reserve
launched another round of stimulus, are biting into company
earnings. The Nikkei is down 0.8 percent this quarter, which
ends this week.
    On Tuesday, German chipmaker Infineon Technologies
 said sales and profits would fall more than
previously expected in forthcoming quarters. 
    The news weighed on Japanese semiconductor-related firms,
with Advantest Corp, Tokyo Electron Ltd,
Shinko Electric Industries Co Ltd and Dainippon Screen
Manufacturing Co Ltd off between 3.3 and 4.5 percent. 
    The broader Topix index lost 1.7 percent to 744.98 in light
trade, with turnover after the morning break at 43 percent of
its full daily average for the past 90 days.
    "European troubles are of course in focus, but relatively
stable exchange rates are underpinning stocks. Some investors
could also be buyers for window-dressing purposes as this is the
last trading week of the quarter, but more of that buying might
emerge later in the week," said Kenichi Hirano, operating
officer at Tachibana Securities.
    Protesters clashed with police in Spain's capital on Tuesday
as the government prepared a new round of unpopular austerity
measures for the 2013 budget to be announced on Thursday.
    Spain is at the centre of the euro zone debt crisis on
concerns the government cannot control its finances and those of
highly-indebted regions, bitten by a second recession since 2009
that has put one in four workers out of work.

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