Nikkei falls as investors lock in profits as weak yen trend pauses
* Lack of macro factors may keep market directionless - analyst * Kajima jumps on Nomura's rating hike By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged down on Tuesday morning in choppy trade as investors took profits from the recent gains in exporters as the weak yen trend paused, but losses were limited with the market supported by resilient U.S. shares. The Nikkei shed 0.3 percent to 15,561.25 in mid-morning trade after flirting with positive territory. The index is well above its 25-day moving average of 15,384.26. It is 2.6 percent below a 3 1/2-week high of 15,759.66 hit on July 31. In the U.S., the S&P 500 closed at a record high, buoyed by financials and biotechnology stocks. Analysts said that a lack of macro factors will likely keep the Japanese market directionless for the time being and the Nikkei stuck in a range while investors look for hints on the direction of U.S. rates. "Investors' primary focus is how U.S. shares will move based on speculation of when its interest rates will rise after the Fed stops buying bonds in October," said Shigemitsu Tsuruta, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. "For the next few weeks, investors may not take large positions." The U.S. Federal Reserve has pledged to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable" period after it wraps up a bond-buying stimulus programme in October. Tsuruta said that until the Fed's policy meeting scheduled for mid-September, the Nikkei is likely to stay in a range of 15,000-15,690. Exporters were lower as investors took profits as the dollar was barely changed. Honda Motor Co fell 0.6 percent, Tokyo Electron Ltd shed 1.5 percent and Sharp Corp slid 0.3 percent. The dollar fetched 104.08 yen, not far off its seven-month peak of 104.49 yen hit on Monday. Bucking the weakness, Kajima Corp jumped 3.6 percent after Nomura Securities hiked its rating to "buy" from "neutral" citing building construction margin improvement and upcoming maglev Chuo Shinkansen projects. The broader Topix dropped 0.3 percent to 1,287.58, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 weakened 0.3 percent to 11,713.51.
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