Nikkei drops 0.8 pct, takes breather after rally to near 5-year high
* Goldman expects Nikkei to reach 16,000 in 12 months * Fast Retailing falls on weaker-than-expected forecast * Chiyoda Corp tumbles after Woodside shelves LNG project By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was down at the midday break as the market took a breather after a recent run of gains to an almost five-year high, but the benchmark was underpinned by optimism that bold government and central bank policies would revitalise the economy. The Nikkei has gained nearly 9 percent since the Bank Of Japan stunned markets a week ago with a plan to inject $1.4 trillion into the Japanese economy over two years to beat deflation. "Unless there are strong catalysts to drive the market higher such as the yen weakening further to 100 yen against the dollar, profit-taking is natural given the steep rises," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities. The Nikkei was down 0.8 percent at 13,440.44 at the midday break. It opened up 0.1 percent at 13,568.25, its highest level since July 2008, before moving into negative territory. The broader Topix shed 0.4 percent to 1,143.27. The dollar last traded around 99.51 yen on Friday, compared with the session high of 99.95 hit on Thursday, its highest level since April 2009. Index heavyweight Fast Retailing dropped 0.6 percent after falling as much as 5.5 percent. The Uniqlo operator on Thursday left its full-year operating profit forecast unchanged at 147.5 billion yen ($1.5 billion), slightly lower than analysts' expectations for 149.9 billion yen. Chiyoda Corp tumbled as much as 11.2 percent and was the biggest percentage loser after Woodside Petroleum shelved plans for the $40 billion Browse liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia, in which the Japanese company was involved. Auto parts maker Takata Corp sank as much as 6.7 percent to 1,698 yen and hit a five-week low, extending Thursday's 9 percent slide after four Japanese automakers said they were recalling a total of 3.4 million vehicles because airbags supplied by the company are at risk of catching fire or injuring passengers. Nomura Securities cut its rating on Takata to "neutral" from "buy". Financials, which have risen strongly on hopes for reflation in Japan, fell on profit-taking. Nomura Holdings dropped 1.1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shed 0.9 percent. LONG-TERM NIKKEI VIEW BULLISH Since November, the Nikkei has surged more than 50 percent on expectations that aggressive monetary and fiscal expansionary policies will jolt the economy from almost two decades of stagnation. Goldman Sachs said that the BOJ's commitment to beat deflation should be positive for earnings growth and stock prices. While the market may pause near term as investors digest earnings, the Nikkei will likely gain further in the long term, Goldman said in a report. It raised the Nikkei's 12-month target to 16,000 from 15,000. Others also shared Goldman's optimism. "Investors are still looking for buying opportunities in the Japanese market although the current share prices have already factored in expectations for higher profits for this fiscal year," said Naoki Fujiwara, a fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. He added that investors expect the yen to weaken further and the U.S. economy to recover steadily, which will serve as tailwinds to Japanese equities.
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