(Corrects percentage gain in Hitachi's share price and profit
in 9th paragraph)
* Nikkei falls 0.8 pct, Topix down 0.6 pct
* China Oct HSBC PMI due at 0145 GMT
* Hitachi jumps; Komatsu, Hitachi Construction sink
By Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, Oct 24 Japanese shares fell to a two-week
low on Thursday morning on renewed concerns over China's
economic outlook, while disappointing earning from Caterpillar
Inc drove Komatsu sharply lower.
The benchmark Nikkei fell 0.8 percent to 14,313.53,
the lowest point since Oct. 10, moving further away from a
3-1/2-week high of 14,799.28 hit in the previous session.
The Nikkei slumped 2 percent on Wednesday as Chinese
money-market rates rose to three-month highs after the central
bank failed to inject cash for a second day as regulators showed
signs of concern that loose liquidity might be fuelling another
round of risky credit growth.
Worries about the Chinese economy, a major export market for
Japan, could intensify if upcoming manufacturing data from the
Asian giant fall short of market expectations. The data is due
at 0145 GMT.
"The Chinese economy appears to be doing all right so far
but talk of policy tightening got fresh attention yesterday. We
need to watch the PMI data and Asian shares," said Yuya
Tsuchida, strategist at Toyo Securities.
"Hedge funds, institutional investors and retail investors
are all waiting to see the data."
Heavy-equipment makers Komatsu Ltd and Hitachi
Construction Machinery Co Ltd slid 3.1 percent and 2.7
percent, respectively, after Caterpillar Inc posted a
lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year
forecast on Wednesday.
The broader Topix dropped 0.6 percent to 1,189.32 in
relatively light trade, with volume at 25.7 percent of its full
daily average for the past 90 trading days.
Bucking the broad market, Hitachi Ltd climbed 6.6
percent after the electronics conglomerate's operating profit
rose 5.8 percent in April-September, beating its own projection
of an 11.4 percent fall.
Hitachi said it was helped by strong sales to the automotive
and information technology sectors. It was the
second-most traded stock by turnover on the main board.
Panasonic Corp gained 0.5 percent after the Nikkei
business daily said the company plans to dramatically cut back
on chipmaking, slashing the business's 14,000-strong workforce
by half and possibly selling some plants.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)