Nikkei tumbles to 1-month low as yen roughs up exporters
* Stronger yen hurts overall market mood * Suntory Beverage rises after parent buys U.S. firm * Brokerages sell Nikkei, Topix futures - traders By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average tumbled more than 2 percent to a one-month low on Tuesday after the yen rose sharply following a weaker-than-expected U.S. payrolls report, driving down shares of exporters like Toyota Motor. Bucking the weakness, Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd climbed 2.4 percent after parent Suntory Holdings said it would buy U.S. spirits company Beam Inc for $13.6 billion. U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in nearly three years in December, although the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that unusually cold weather may have had an impact. "Today's drop has to do with the nine-day rally at the year end. Foreign investors who bought then are reducing their risky assets," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "The part that there was a seasonal reason for the weak U.S. jobs data didn't shock us that much, but the steep rise in the yen was a bit surprising," he said. The Nikkei was down 2.5 percent at 15,520.06 in midmorning trade after falling as far as 15,475.11, its lowest level since Dec. 18. The Nikkei was trading below 15,573.87, the 61.8 percent retracement from its Dec. 6 low to its Dec. 30 high. The broader Topix dropped 2 percent to 1,272.17, with all of its 33 subsectors in negative territory. Japanese financial markets were closed on Monday for a national holiday. The dollar fell more than 1 percent overnight - its biggest one-day drop since Sept. 18 - and last traded at 103.05 yen , as investors reassessed how quickly the Federal Reserve might scale back its stimulus after the soft jobs data. A stronger yen erodes the competitiveness of Japanese exporters abroad and their dollar earnings when repatriated. Toyota Motor Corp shed 2 percent and was the third-most traded stock by turnover. Sony Corp fell 3.1 percent and Honda Motor Co dropped 3.4 percent. Market heavyweights SoftBank Corp stumbled 3.5 percent and Fast Retailing Co slid 3.3 percent. Traders said brokerages like Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, which had aggressively bought Nikkei and Topix futures at the year-end, were selling to take profits. But Dip Corp soared 24 percent and was the biggest percentage gainer after the staffing agency raised its dividend payout to 23 yen per share for the year ending in February, much higher than its forecast of 8 yen. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, a new index comprised of companies with high return on equity and strong corporate governance to appeal to investors which started trading on Jan. 6, slid 2 percent to 11,476.94.
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