Nikkei steady, Fast Retailing falls after weak Oct sales

Tue Nov 5, 2013 8:20pm EST

* Fast Retailing hits 2-month low after Uniqlo Oct sales
down Y/Y
    * Mitsubishi Motors up on Renault-Nissan cooperation

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average held steady
on Wednesday as a fall in Fast Retailing Co Ltd after
weak October sales offset gains in companies rebounding from a
recent battering on the back of disappointing quarterly
earnings.
    The Nikkei was steady at 14,222.12 in mid-morning
trade, breaking below its 50-day moving average of 14,239.73.
    Fast Retailing shed 2.5 percent to a two-month low after it
said same-store sales at its Uniqlo causal clothing chain in
Japan fell 13.8 percent last month because of warmer-than-usual
temperatures and typhoons that discouraged shoppers.
 
    It contributed 31 negative points to the Nikkei and was the
fourth-most traded stock on the main board by turnover.
    Mobile operator SoftBank Corp, another index
heavyweight, was the most traded stock. It was down 2.5 percent,
giving up some of the 5.6 percent rally in the previous two
sessions on the back of its strong first-half earnings.
    But industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp advanced 1.1
percent, on track to snap a five-day losing streak after its
quarterly orders disappointed investors.  
    Mitsubishi Motors Corp gained 2.2 percent on news 
France's Renault and alliance partner Nissan Motor Co
Ltd will deepen cooperation with the carmaker to
develop small cars and sedans. 
    Nissan added 1.6 percent, recovering from the previous
session's 10.4 percent slump after it cut its annual earnings
guidance, facing a slowdown in emerging markets and quality
issues.     
    "Earnings reactions for a lot of these shares are quite
volatile. It's not normal to see Nissan down 10 percent, Sony
down 10 percent. They were pretty bad but it's just a bit more
volatile than it used to be," said a senior trader at a European
brokerage in Tokyo. 
    "Low volume for one. I think since people don't have an
overall directional view on the market. They are kind of making
bigger bet, perhaps, on single stocks rather than on the overall
market, which is causing a bit more volatility," he said, adding
that their sell orders outpaced buy by two-to-one.
    Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls report will be a key event
for the markets to gauge whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will
scale back its massive stimulus later this year. 
    
    TOYOTA EARNINGS
    Toyota Motor Corp, the second-most traded, was flat
ahead of its quarterly earnings results after the market close.
The stock has risen 58 percent so far this year, outpacing a 37
percent in the Benchmark Nikkei.
    BNP Paribas analysts expected the Nikkei to reach 18,000, or
26.6 percent above Wednesday's level, by June 2014, if the Bank
of Japan offered further easing and reforms in Japanese pension
funds met market expectations, which could increase their equity
allocations.
    They recommended investors buying call spread on the Nikkei
expiring in June 2014. 
    The broader Topix index rose 0.3 percent to
1,186.29, with trading volume at 25 percent of fully daily
average for the past 90 trading days.
    With nearly two-third of Nikkei companies reported quarterly
results, 62 percent of them either beat or met market
expectations, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine showed. That
compared with 58 percent in the previous quarter.
    Dainippon Screen Manufacturing reported in-line
quarterly earnings, but investors were disappointed that the
precision machinery maker posted a rise in fixed costs,
prompting Goldman Sachs to lower its 12-month price target by 7
percent. The stock lost 6 percent to a two-month low.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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