Nikkei edges up; caution over earnings, Ukraine caps gains

Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:10pm EDT

* Nikkei falls short of testing Monday's 2-week high
    * Yaskawa Elec tumbles after guidance disappoints
    * Investors awaiting upcoming earnings season
    * Ukraine tensions keep some investors on edge

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, April 22 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced on
Tuesday, taking heart from a solid session on Wall Street, but
gains were limited below the two-week intraday high marked the
previous day on caution over upcoming earnings reports and
tensions in Ukraine.
    The Nikkei average was up 0.3 percent at 14,556.03
in midmorning trade, continuing its recovery from a six-month
low of 13,885.22 hit on Monday last week, after U.S. stocks
extended gains into a fifth day.
    But the Nikkei traded below Monday's high of 14,649.50, with
one major resistance level looming at 14,758, the bottom of the
daily Ichimoku cloud.
    In the coming weeks, many Japanese companies will be
reporting earnings and issuing guidance for the new fiscal year
that ends in March 2015.
    Investors expect earnings growth of around 10 percent on the
whole this fiscal year, but some anticipate that company
executives might release more conservative forecasts.
    Indeed, shares of Yaskawa Electric slid 6.5 percent
on Tuesday after the firm's guidance for the year to next March
fell short of market expectations.
    Tensions over the situation in Ukraine appeared to be
playing less of a role for now, but some investors think markets
will remain vulnerable to more shocks.
    "I don't think this will lead to a military conflict.
Nonetheless, towards the presidential election in Ukraine
(planned for May 25), more tensions are likely and there will be
phases where share prices will be hit," said Soichiro Monji,
chief strategist at Daiwa SB Investments.
    Following a gunfight that killed at least three on Sunday,
Washington and Moscow each continued to put the onus on the
other to ensure tensions are eased.
    Washington threatened to impose additional sanctions against
Russia "in days" if Russia does not implement an agreement
struck last week. 
    Still, bulls hope that the Nikkei could break through
resistance to retest its April 3 high of 15,164.
    "Given the favourable conditions in U.S. share markets and
the yen's weakening, I bet the Nikkei will rise to 15,000," said
Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
    The yen extended its incremental decline since early April
to hit a two-week low of 102.73 yen to the dollar,
providing some support to exporters' shares.
    Automakers Toyota Motor and Honda Motor 
rose 0.6 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Fanuc,
a maker of industrial robots, gained 0.7 percent.
    The broader Topix advanced 0.4 percent to 1,175.54,
while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.4 percent
to 10,697.01.
    Trading volume so far was similar to its levels on Monday,
when volume was almost 30 percent below its average for the past
100 sessions.

 (Editing by Chris Gallagher)
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