Nikkei dips on Fed taper concerns; iPhone suppliers shine
* Nikkei vulnerable to profit-taking - traders * iPhone suppliers buck overall market weakness * Hopes for "Abenomics" support market - analyst By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average eased on Tuesday, tracking a fall on Wall Street after Federal Reserve officials suggested the U.S. central bank could still begin scaling back its monetary stimulus later this year. Bellwether exporters lost ground, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.8 percent, Honda Motor Co shedding 0.5 percent and Sony Corp dropping 2.3 percent. But iPhone suppliers bucked the overall weakness after Apple Inc sold 9 million new iPhones during their first three days in stores. Murata Manufacturing Co rose 1.8 percent, Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Ltd gained 2.4 percent and Foster Electric Co added 0.7 percent. The Nikkei dropped 0.6 percent to 14,653.96 in mid-morning trade, moving away from a nine-week high of 14,816.65 hit last Friday. Traders say the market is susceptible to profit-taking after adding 2.3 percent last week and following a long weekend. Japanese markets were closed on Monday for a national holiday. The Topix dropped 0.7 percent to 1,210.60. On Monday, U.S. stocks declined after William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said in a speech the timeline that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke articulated in June for scaling back the central bank's stimulus measures is "still very much intact," as long as the economy keeps improving. Still, selling in the Japanese market is likely be limited on expectations that the government will announce a strategy to bolster the economy in October, analysts said. "The Nikkei will likely stay resilient despite worries in the global market," said Yoshiyuki Kondo, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. "Hopes for 'Abenomics' are likely to support the Japanese market." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a final decision on Oct. 1 about whether to lift the tax to 8 percent from 5 percent in April. Traders said foreign investors had priced in that the planned tax hike will happen, so therefore, as long as the government proceeds with the plan, there will be no impact. "If the government decides not to raise the consumption tax, foreigners will get disappointed and sell," said Makoto Kikuchi, the chief executive of Myojo Asset Management. "Investors have bought Japanese stocks based on hopes that the government will act decisively." The government is also considering lowering corporate taxes as part of economic stimulus to offset the impact from a scheduled sales tax hike.