Nikkei dips on weak banks, disappoint Gree results
* Gree sags after earnings miss expectations * Sharp falls, Goldman Sachs sees more downside risk * Japan replaces euro zone as most underweight region among fund managers-poll By Dominic Lau TOKYO, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average slipped on Wednesday as weakness in banks offset gains in exporters after the yen weakened against the dollar and the euro on the back of stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales and German economic growth. Banks came under heavy selling pressure as some investors shorted banking stocks in a low liquidity week when many people were away for the Japanese summer "Obon" holidays. "People are shorting the megabanks. The banking index couldn't break the 110-mark again. It's the rangebound trade, so everyone just goes short on the mega in a week where there is no liquidity. It is easy to short during low liquidity time," a senior dealer at a European brokerage said. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell 2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group lost 1.1 percent and Mizuho Financial Group eased 1.6 percent. The Nikkei dipped 0.1 percent to 8,920.58, facing resistance at its 200-day moving average at 8,959.80. Among the exporters that enjoyed a bounce included industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp, Toyota Motor Corp , Canon Inc and construction machinery maker Komatsu Ltd, up between 0.5 and 1.5 percent. Gree Inc sagged 5.3 percent and was the most traded stock on the main board by turnover after the social gaming company's full-year operating profit missed market expectations, while its earnings guidance for this business year ending June 2013 also came in below analysts' forecast. The sell-off in Gree came after a 14 percent rally in the previous three sessions as investors had expected strong results from Gree after rival DeNA Co Ltd beat market forecasts with its quarterly earnings last Thursday. DeNA was up 0.9 percent. Japanese corporate earnings have been weak so far this quarterly reporting season, with 53 percent of the 154 Nikkei companies missing market expectations, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine showed. That compared with misses of 40 percent in the previously quarter's earnings season. The benchmark Nikkei is up 5.5 percent so far this year, underperforming a 10 percent rise in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index even though the region is grappling with a sovereign debt crisis. The U.S. S&P 500 has risen 11.6 percent this year. Japan has replaced the euro zone as the largest region in which fund managers are underweight equities in the latest monthly asset manager survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The broader Topix index eased 0.2 percent to 748.32. Struggling consumer electronics maker Sharp Corp shed 5.7 percent after Goldman Sachs warned of further downside risk and cut its price target. According to data provider Markit, short interest in Sharp increased, with 89.57 percent of its stock that is available to be borrowed out on loan as of Aug. 13, up from 88.28 percent on Aug. 10.
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