Nikkei edges down on strong yen; Nidec, Apple-related shares shine
* Strong yen hurts exporters * Nidec surges on profit outlook hike * Apple-related shares outperform * Investors hesitate to push Nikkei above 15,000 - analyst By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share edged down on Wednesday morning as a strong yen snapped a two-day rally, but declines were contained by gains in Apple Inc related stocks after the iPhone-maker reported stellar sales. Investors were also cautious before Chinese manufacturing data due later in the day, which kept a check on activity. China is Japan's second biggest export market. Traders said that individual earnings news was lifting interest in some stocks such as Nidec Corp, as attention shifted to the April-June earnings season that kicks off this week. The Nikkei dropped 0.3 percent to 14,730.21 during mid-morning trade. Exporters were down as the dollar traded below 100 yen, with Toyota Motor Corp shedding 0.8 percent, Sharp Corp falling 0.7 percent and Toshiba Corp dropping 0.6 percent. Apple's better-than-expected fiscal third quarter revenue on solid sales of its flagship iPhone had a positive impact on the market, with manufacturers which provide parts to Apple including Taiyo Yuden Co and Rohm Co jumping 1.7 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. Analysts said that investors are reluctant to push the Nikkei above a psychological resistance level of 15,000 due to underlying worries about the impact from plans by the U.S. Federal Reserve to taper its stimulus later this year. "Investors rather want to focus on individual stocks with good earnings than buying Nikkei index futures as a whole. They have become picky," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "They have turned 'risk on' as (Fed Chairman) Bernanke has alleviated worries of imminent tapering, but as the U.S. economy shows a recovery, it's a matter of time that the Fed again signals scaling back its stimulus and the market becomes 'risk off'. So the Japanese market will probably stall for a while." However, some analysts expect Japan's economic recovery hopes to limit the negative impact from Fed's potential tapering in the mid-term. Japan's government raised its view on the economy for a third straight month in July and said deflation was abating as a result of the nation's expansionary policy mix of monetary easing and generous spending, which were adopted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Nikkei has shed 7.6 percent since its May 23 peak of 15,942.60, but is still up more than percent this year. The Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,216.70. "There are few risks in the domestic market, so although the Japanese market may continue to be hit by global market factors, the Nikkei should be fairly resilient," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. On Wednesday, Nidec surged 8.0 percent and was the third most traded stock by turnover after it hiked its operating profit outlook for the year ending March 2014 by 5 billion yen to 75 billion yen on Tuesday, due to increasing sales for industrial motors. On the downside, Advantest Corp dropped as much as 4.3 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said the company is expected to report an operating loss of nearly 3 billion yen ($30 million) for the April-June quarter.
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