Nikkei edges down, investors wary as earnings eyed; Canon tumbles
* Nikkei eases 0.3 pct, Topix down 0.5 pct * Canon sinks after cutting full-year profit outlook * Investors await more blue-chip earnings reports By Tomo Uetake TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average slipped on Thursday morning, as investors looked past a weaker yen to the earnings season with blue-chip Canon Inc tumbling after slashing its profit outlook due to slowing demand in China and other economies. The benchmark Nikkei eased 0.3 percent to 14,691.44 in midmorning trade, after rising as high as 14,748.77 at the open. The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,213.31. "As the market has been in overbought territory, technically speaking, investors stayed on the sidelines. Although the weaker yen lent some support to the market, there are few factors to buy," said Yasuo Sakuma, portfolio manager at Bayview Asset Management. Many market players are waiting for earnings reports from some of the top companies to determine the market direction, he added. "For example, if Nissan raises its full-year forecast today, that would impact on other automakers and the overall market." The April-June quarter earnings season got underway this week, though most blue-chip earnings will kick-off only over the coming days, with Nissan announcing its quarterly results after the market close on Thursday. Canon tumbled 5.7 percent and was the most traded stock by turnover on the main board, after the world's largest digital camera maker cut its operating profit forecast for the year by 16 percent, citing a slowdown in China and other emerging economies. Canon contributed 12 negative points to the Nikkei. The worries about slack demand for cameras also hit rival Nikon Corp , which fell 4.4 percent. China is Japan's second-biggest export market. On the upside, Hitachi Chemical Co jumped 5.5 percent after the company said its operating profit for the first quarter rose by 11 percent and raised its full-year net profit outlook by 18 percent. The yen was last traded at 100.13 yen against the dollar, moving away from under 100 yen seen at the start of the week after the greenback rallied across the board on Wednesday. The Japanese currency is down 16 percent versus the dollar for the year, weighed by the Bank of Japan's radical monetary stimulus launched in April to end years of stubborn deflation and foster growth. Some of the benefits of a weaker yen are expected to show up in corporate results and their outlooks. The Japanese government's fiscal expansionary policy, coupled with the BOJ's aggressive monetary stimulus, have helped push the benchmark Nikkei up 42 percent this year.
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