Nikkei falls before U.S. election results, weak euro hits mood

Mon Nov 5, 2012 8:01pm EST

* Weak euro drags down carmakers
    * Nikkei likely to stay rangebound - analyst
    * Resource stocks up on rising crude prices

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell
in early trade on Tuesday as investors avoided taking big
positions ahead of the U.S. election outcome, while the
weakening euro added pressure on exporters.
    The euro languished at eight-week lows versus the greenback
on Tuesday, having fallen broadly as a Greek parliament vote on
a new austerity package loomed.  The single
currency was at $1.2790, having fallen as far as $1.2767
 following a break of the Oct. 1 trough around $1.2804.
    The Nikkei was down 0.4 percent at 8,971.35, while
the broader Topix was 0.5 percent lower at 743.92.
    "The yen is still weak as the dollar is trading above 80
yen, but investors are selling exporters which are sensitive to
the euro, so there might be a short-term impact to the overall
market," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko
Securities.
    The euro's weakness dragged down carmakers, with Honda Motor
Corp shedding 0.8 percent to 2,476 yen, Nissan Motor
Corp falling 1.9 percent to 678 yen and Mazda Motor
Corp dropping 0.9 percent to 105 yen.
    Analysts said the market was in a wait-and-see mode ahead of
a tight U.S. presidential race, although President Barack Obama
has a slight lead in eight or nine battleground states.
 
    They added that although such negative factors as the weak
euro casting worries over the stock market, the Nikkei should be
kept in a narrow range for Tuesday.
    "The main focus is the U.S. election, and uncertainty ahead
of that is going to keep markets, including Japanese stocks, in
a range," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana
Securities.
    "Everyone is talking about the likely impact of the outcome,
but except for a short-term immediate reaction, no matter who
wins, it's going to take him a long time to put his policies in
place. The trends will not change suddenly," Hirano said.
    The yen was quoted at 80.26 to the dollar on Tuesday, not
too far from a six-month low of 80.68 hit on Friday.
    The benchmark Nikkei is up 6.0 percent this year, trailing a
12.7 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 11.7 percent
gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index.
    Resources shares are higher helped by rising crude prices,
with Inpex Corp rising 1.7 percent to 442,000 yen and
Mitsubishi Corp adding 1.2 percent to 1,470 yen.
    Sankyo Co Ltd sank 7.4 percent to 3,425 yen,
hitting a two-week low after the maker of pachinko pinball game
equipment slashed its full-year operating profit forecast by 76
percent to 12 billion yen, citing weaker sales.