* Nikkei falls 0.8 pct to one-week low, Topix slips 0.4 pct
* Toyota falls after weak U.S. auto sales in April
* Sharp gains on report of potential $1 bln credit line
* Japanese markets closed for holidays Friday, Monday
By Dominic Lau
TOKYO, May 2 Japan's Nikkei average fell for a
fourth straight session on Thursday, its worst losing streak
since November, just before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began
promising to revive growth, dubbed as "Abenomics" that has
spurred a massive stock rally.
The Nikkei lost 0.8 percent to end at 13,694.04
points, a one-week low, after weak U.S. data heightened worries
about the recovery in the world's largest economy.
Japanese financial markets will be closed on Friday and
Monday for public holidays, and reopen on Tuesday.
"The global economy is quite weak," said Hisao Matsuura, an
equity strategist at Nomura Securities. "I would not be
surprised to see the Nikkei go down to 13,000."
He added the latest quarterly earnings remained weak as
sharp depreciation in the yen since late last year had not yet
led to a bigger benefit for export-driven companies.
A number of Japanese firms, including industrial robot maker
Fanuc Corp, semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo
Electron Ltd and Honda Motor Co, have
disappointed investors with their earnings forecasts for the
current fiscal year ending March 2014, despite a 21 percent
slide in the yen since mid-November.
During the same period, the benchmark Nikkei has rallied 58
percent on expectations that the yen weakness would spark sharp
earnings growth for exporters. Japanese equities now carry a
12-month forward return on equity of 8.3 percent, a level not
seen since September 2008, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream
Of the 61 Nikkei companies that have reported quarterly
results as of Wednesday, 52 percent of them either beat or met
market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That
compared with 62 percent which missed in the previous quarter.
Toyota Motor Corp lost 1.1 percent on Thursday and
was the sixth-most traded stock on the main board by turnover
after data showed its U.S. light vehicle sales fell 1.1 percent
year-on-year last month. Toyota shares are still
up nearly 80 percent since mid-November.
"We are seeing some selling out of the yen-name automotives
on the back of U.S. auto sales, which were weaker than
expected," a senior dealer at a foreign brokerage said.
Nissan Motor Co dropped 2 percent and Suzuki Motor
Corp shed 3.4 percent.
The latest U.S. data showed that companies had hired the
fewest employees in seven months in April, boding ill for the
key nonfarm payrolls data due out on Friday, and that
manufacturing growth had slowed to a crawl.
Investors have also been pocketing gains after the Nikkei --
which rose to a near five-year high last week - failed to breach
technical resistance at 13,988, the 61.8 percent retracement of
its slide from February 2007 to October 2008.
BNP Paribas' proprietary model showed it picked Japan as one
of the equity indexes to short with a one-month horizon, it said
in a note. The other countries on which the model had a negative
view were Austria, Mexico and South Korea, while it suggested
going long France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The broader Topix index eased 0.4 percent to
1,153.28, with trading volume hitting a one-month low of 2.74
Daiwa Securities Group, Japan's second-largest
brokerage, shed 2.3 percent even after the firm posted its
highest quarterly profit in seven years on Wednesday. The stock
had rallied 31.6 percent in April, its best monthly performance
since November 1998.
Index heavyweight Fast Retailing Co Ltd fell 1.8
percent ahead of the release of its casual clothing chain
Uniqlo's Japan same-store sales data in April. After the closing
bell, it said Uniqlo's same store sales fell 3 percent
year-on-year last month.
Sharp Corp and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
, however, bucked the market fall.
Sharp climbed 5 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said
Mizuho Corporate bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ were
considering a roughly 100 billion yen ($1 billion) credit
facility to help the struggling consumer electronics maker meet
an upcoming bond redemption.
Takeda advanced 2.3 percent after the drugmaker said a U.S.
court had nullified a $6.5 million jury verdict over its Actos