Nikkei falls as investors lock in profits as weak yen trend pauses

Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:14pm EDT

* 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.