Nikkei moves sideways as Spain worries offset heavyweight gains

Tue Oct 2, 2012 9:29pm EDT

* Fast Retailing strong, sales to reach 1 trln-Nikkei
    * Toyota gains after sales leap in U.S.

    By Sophie Knight
    TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
little changed in early Wednesday trade as gains for index
heavyweights such as Fast Retailing Co were offset by
broader concerns over a bailout for Spain.
    Fast Retailing moved up 2.6 percent, giving the benchmark 19
positive points, after the Nikkei daily said the operator of
popular clothing firm Uniqlo should see sales top 1 trillion yen
($12.8 billion) in the year ending August 2013.
    Toyota Motor Co also lent support, rising 1.4
percent in heavy trade after its U.S. passenger car sales jumped
42 percent in September from the same month last year. Honda
Motor Co saw a 31 percent increase in the same period,
helping its share price rise 0.5 percent.
    But the Nikkei added just 1.4 points to 8,787.51 on a lack
of incentives to buy other shares, and as investors brooded over
when, or indeed whether, Spain will request a bailout after
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would not ask for one
soon.  
    "We have problems with Greece, and with Spain, but without
any really positive news out it's very difficult to judge where
a comfortable range for the Nikkei should be," said Yuuki
Sakurai, CEO of Fukoku Capital Management. 
    Investors are also waiting on a flurry of big events over
the next few days, with the European Central Bank and the Bank
of Japan both due to start policy meetings on Thursday and U.S.
payroll data due on Friday.
    "With such a lack of incentives, I have a feeling we're
going to see overreactions to factors that usually don't cause
big waves in the market, like Australia's trade data," said
Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.
    Australia is due to release monthly trade data at 0130 GMT,
with investors fearing that a slowdown in China will have
further crimped the country's exports of raw materials such as
metals and coal. 
    Concern about demand for Japanese products going off the
boil in China, a major driver of global growth and Japan's
biggest trade partner, has intensified over the past three weeks
after a territorial dispute triggered anti-Japan protests and
boycotts.
    Despite that, the president of Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd
 said the precision machinery firm could escape those
headwinds thanks to strong demand from smartphone makers, and
its Chinese factories were at full capacity. The
stock rose 0.6 percent.
    Elsewhere, Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd sagged 4.5 percent
to 1,210 yen, hitting a record low after U.S. biotechnology
company ArQule Inc said it will discontinue a
late-stage trial of a lung cancer drug the two companies are
co-developing after an interim analysis showed the drug would
not improve overall survival rates. 
    Daiichi Sankyo has lost 21.2 percent this year,
underperforming a 3.7 percent rise in the Nikkei.
    The broader Topix was also flat, adding just 0.1
points to 731.33.
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