* Market needs substantial catalyst to rise further -
* Nikkei sluggish as weak yen trend pauses after BOJ
* Canon rises on share buyback plan
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Feb 19 Japan's Nikkei share average fell
on Wednesday morning, retreating from a 2 1/2-week high hit the
previous day, as investors took profits on banks and exporters
when the weak yen trend paused.
The Nikkei shed 0.7 percent to 14,738.69 in
mid-morning trade after rising 3.1 percent at 14,843.24 on
Tuesday, the highest close since Jan. 31. It was the biggest
daily percentage gain since early August.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.4 percent,
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group shed 1.6 percent and
Mizuho Financial Group fell 1.8 percent. On Tuesday,
they all rose nearly 5 percent after the Bank Of Japan decided
to extend three special loan facilities by a year from their
scheduled expiry at the end of March and double the size of
funds available to banks.
Analysts said that the market took heart from the BOJ
announcement, but that effect will fizzle soon. The market needs
more drivers for the benchmark to top its psychological
resistance line at 15,000 and rise further, they added.
"Investors have either based their investment decisions on
U.S. economic data or expectations that the BOJ will ease
further," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "The market has relied
too much on the BOJ. We need a substantial reason to chase the
market higher such as concrete growth plan from our leader."
Last June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe disappointed the market
with his detail-lacking 'third arrow of Abenomics', or the plan
to pull the country out of its long slump.
"If he does not flesh out his 'third arrow' by the end of
this fiscal year, it would be disappointing," Fujito said.
The Topix shed 0.2 percent to 1,221.50.
Exporters were weaker after enjoying rallies on Tuesday,
with Honda Motor Co falling 1.6 percent and Sony Corp
shedding 1.9 percent.
But Canon Inc bucked the weakness, rising 2.5
percent after the company said it would buy up to 18 million of
its own shares worth 50 billion yen, or 1.6 percent of its
outstanding shares. Canon was the fifth most-traded stock by
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this
year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong
corporate governance, dropped 0.1 percent to 11,051.95.