Nikkei slips after weak U.S. data, heads for 4th day of losses

Wed May 1, 2013 9:41pm EDT

* Toyota falls after weak U.S. auto sales in April
    * Sharp gains on report of potential $1 bln credit line

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, May 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average
slipped on Thursday, heading for a fourth straight session of
losses, after weak U.S. data heightened worries about the
recovery in the world's largest economy.
    A fourth day of declines would mark the longest such losing
run since November, just before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began
promising expansionary monetary and fiscal policies to spur
growth during his election campaign.
    The Nikkei was down 0.4 percent at 13,743.66 in
midmorning trade. Japanese financial markets will be closed on
Friday and Monday for public holidays, and reopen on Tuesday.
    "We are seeing some selling out of the yen-name automotives
on the back of U.S. auto sales, which were weaker than
expected," a senior dealer at a foreign brokerage said.
    Toyota Motor Corp lost 1.1 percent and was the
third most-traded stock on the main board by turnover after data
showed its U.S. light vehicle sales fell 1.1 percent
year-on-year last month. 
    Toyota shares are still up nearly 80 percent since
mid-November. During the same period, the yen has weakened 21
percent and the benchmark Nikkei has rallied 59 percent.    
    The latest U.S. data showed that companies had hired the
fewest employees in seven months in April, boding ill for the
key nonfarm payrolls data due out on Friday, and that
manufacturing growth had slowed to a crawl. 
    Investors have also been pocketing gains after the Nikkei -
which rose to a near five-year high last week - failed to breach
technical resistance at 13,988, the 61.8 percent retracement of
its slide from February 2007 to October 2008.
    Daiwa Securities Group, Japan's second-largest
brokerage, shed 1.5 percent even after the firm posted its
highest quarterly profit in seven years on Wednesday. The stock
had rallied 31.6 percent in April, its best monthly performance
since November 1998.
    Of the 61 Nikkei companies that have reported quarterly
results so far, 52 percent of them either beat or met market
expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That
compared with 62 percent missed in the previous quarter.
    The broader Topix index slipped 0.2 percent to
1,155.53.
    Sharp Corp and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
 bucked the market fall.
    Sharp climbed 2.5 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said
Mizuho Corporate bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were
considering a roughly 100 billion yen ($1 billion) credit
facility to help the struggling consumer electronics maker meet
an upcoming bond redemption. 
    Takeda advanced 2.7 percent after the drugmaker said a U.S.
court had nullified a $6.5 million jury verdict over its Actos
diabetes drug.
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