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Nikkei falls on soft U.S., China data, printer-makers sink
February 2, 2015 / 2:16 AM / 3 years ago

Nikkei falls on soft U.S., China data, printer-makers sink

* Soft U.S. GDP, China PMI triggers selling
    * Seiko Epson, Konica Minolta dive after earnings
    * Investors take profits in airliners, other cheap oil plays

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Japanese share prices fell on
Monday after economic data from the U.S. and China cast shadows
on the global economic outlook, while shares in two printer
manufacturers tumbled after their earnings disappointed
    Beneficiaries from fall in oil prices in the past several
months -- ranging from airline companies and rubber makers to
power companies -- also took a big hit after oil prices posted
their biggest rebound in 2-1/2 years.
    The Nikkei share average fell 0.4 percent to
17,531.17, hitting its lowest levels in a week after data on
Friday showed U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth
quarter to 2.6 percent, below economists' forecast of 3.0
    Another blow came from China, where data on Sunday showed
factory sector unexpectedly shrank for the first time in nearly
2-1/2 years last month and firms see more gloom ahead.
    Printer maker Seiko Epson fell 10.6 percent and
rival Konica Minolta dropped 9.5 percent after their
earnings disappointed investors.
    "Recently, reactions to earnings have been very big. If the
numbers are marginally worse or even in line with expectations,
share prices fall massively. But when earnings are surprising
good, share prices jump," said Masaki Uchida, executive director
at JPMorgan Asset Management.
    Investors also took profits from airline companies and
rubber product makers after oil prices rocketed more than 8
percent from six-year lows after a record weekly decline in U.S.
oil drilling.
    The Tokyo Stock Exchange's Air transport subindex 
fell 3.1 percent to be the worst performer among the exchange's
33 industry subindexes, with Japan Airlines falling 3.4
percent and ANA 2.4 percent.
    Rubber products maker subindex fell 2.2 percent,
with Bridgestone Corp shedding 2.9 percent.
    Power companies, which have been relying heavily on oil and
natural gas after most of their nuclear power plants went
offline after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, also
    Chubu Electric Power fell 4.2 percent while Tokyo
Electric Power dropped 2.8 percent,
    On the other hand, Fujitsu bucked the trend, rising
8.8 percent following its earnings.
    "On the whole, earnings are likely to improve further, and
underpin the market," said Takashi, Hiroki, chief strategist at
Monex Securities.
    "A rebound in oil prices will be also positive for the
market in the long run. What people didn't like was rapid falls,
which stoked fear on the energy sector. But if oil prices
stabilise here, that's welcome for the Japanese economy," he
    The broader Topix fell 0.6 percent while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 0.5 percent.


 (Editing by Kim Coghill)

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