Nikkei drops as BOJ tankan disappoints, utility shares underperform

Tue Apr 1, 2014 2:18am EDT

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell
on Tuesday, retreating from a three-week high, as sentiment was
hit by a sombre business confidence survey and as utilities
tumbled on a report that Hokkaido Electric Power Co 
will get a capital infusion from a state-owned lender.
    The benchmark Nikkei dropped 0.2 percent to
14,791.99 in choppy trade after rising as high as 14,870.51
earlier, the highest since March 13.
    Japanese business sentiment barely improved in the three
months to March and is set to sour in the following quarter, the
Bank Of Japan's tankan quarterly survey showed, reflecting
uncertainty over how much a sales tax hike that kicked off on
Tuesday could hurt a fragile economic recovery. 
    The utility subsector was the biggest sectoral
loser, falling 2.1 percent after the Nikkei said that Hokkaido
Electric is facing a third year of financial losses and will get
a capital infusion from the government-owned Development Bank of
Japan. Hokkaido Electric dived 10 percent.
    The broader Topix rose 0.1 percent to 1,204.25, and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400, a recently introduced
gauge comprised of companies with a high return on equity and
robust corporate governance, added 0.1 percent to 10,900.80.
    

 (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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