Nikkei falls to fresh 2 1/2-week low on Iraq concerns; oil shares surge

Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:52pm EDT

* Inpex, Japex surge on rising oil prices
    * Nikkei options and futures settlement price likely be
near-term support

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, June 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell
to a fresh 2 1/2-week low on Friday morning as fears for Iraq
escalated, with oil shares soaring on rising oil prices.
    The Nikkei dropped 0.8 percent to 14,855.72 in
midmorning trade. It fell as low as 14,830.99, the lowest since
June 2. For the week, the index has shed 1.5 percent.
    Inpex Corp jumped 3.6 percent to 1,621 yen, the
highest since April 2011 and Japan Petroleum Exploration
 rose 1.6 percent after oil prices jumped to nine-month
highs on Thursday as fears rose that escalating conflict in Iraq
could disrupt supply from OPEC's second-largest producer.
    "Geopolitical tensions in Iraq have hit risk appetites.
People are concerned as developments in Iraq could have a big
impact on oil prices and the U.S. market, and there could be 
repercussions in Japan," said Hiromichi Tamura, chief strategist
at Nomura Securities.
    Sunni Islamist militants, who took over Iraq's
second-biggest city Mosul earlier this week, extended their
advance south toward Baghdad and surrounded the country's
largest refinery in the northern town of Baiji on Thursday.
    Market participants, citing estimates by local brokerages,
said that Nikkei futures and options contracts expiring in June
likely settled at 14,807.72. The official settlement price will
be announced by the Osaka Securities Exchange after the market
closes.
    They added that the Nikkei will likely be supported at the
settlement level for the time being.
    The broader Topix dropped 0.8 percent to 1,228.02,
while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 0.8 percent
to 11,176.27. 
   Exporters were lower, with Toyota Motor Corp dropping
1.2 percent, Honda Motor Co falling 1.9 percent and
Fanuc Corp declining 1.2 percent.

 (Editing by Eric Meijer)