September 4, 2015 / 2:16 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei falls as strong yen hits futures, exporters; US payrolls in focus

* Market pressured by futures-led selling

* Nikkei has dropped for 4th week, fallen 6 pct for the week

* Nikkei’s weekly drop likely be steepest since April 2014

* Foreigners’ net selling in Japanese stocks hits record high last week

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell in choppy trade on Friday morning after a bounce in the yen against the euro and dollar hurt exporters and other index-heavyweights.

Investors were also wary ahead of the key U.S. jobs report later in the day as markets continued to size up data to gauge when the Federal Reserve would start raising interest rates.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank had set the tone for foreign exchange majors by affirming its readiness to provide the euro zone with another dose of stimulus..

The resulting gains in the yen seen as disadvantageous to exporters sent the Nikkei share average down 1.2 percent to 17,966.16 in mid-morning trade, after a brief 0.7 percent spike at the open.

The rise in the Japanese currency also triggered selling in Nikkei futures and pushed down index-heavy stocks such as Fast Retailing Co, SoftBank Group and KDDI Corp , down 3.1 percent, 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

The stocks together contributed a hefty 56 negative points to the Nikkei. It accounted for more than a third of the Nikkei’s losses.

For the week, the Nikkei has dropped 6.0 percent for the fourth successive week of losses, and is poised to post the biggest weekly drop since April 2014.

“Those who were on the sidelines before the U.S. jobs report are gradually shifting their positions to sell,” said Chihiro Ohta, general manager at investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that selling could accelerate if the dollar falls below an overnight low of 119.65 yen.

The dollar stood at 119.93 yen as of 0054 GMT.

Exporters were mostly lower, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 1.3 percent and Panasonic Corp dropping 1.5 percent.

Banks also lost ground, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropping 1.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group shedding 2.4 percent.

NGK Insulators tumbled 2.8 percent after the U.S. Justice Department said the company has agreed to pay $65.3 million for fixing the prices of parts supplied to car makers and plead guilty to criminal charges.

The underlying sentiment in the market remained fragile, traders said, noting persistent worries about the Chinese economy.

In the last week, net selling of Japanese cash and futures stocks by foreign investors hit a record high as they shunned riskier assets on worries that a China-led slowdown could hurt global growth.

The broader Topix dropped 0.7 percent and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.8 percent to 13,147.29. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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