October 29, 2018 / 6:19 AM / 18 days ago

Nikkei dragged down by dismal global mood, bargain hunters limit losses

* Nikkei down 0.16 pct, Topix loses 0.4 pct

* Bargain hunting helps limit overall losses

* Hitachi Chemical slides after reports of data falsification

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks slipped on Monday as further weakness in U.S. and Chinese shares dampened investor sentiment, although bargain hunting helped limit overall losses.

The Nikkei swerved in and out of the red in a choppy session reflective of recent turbulence in global markets. The benchmark ended the day down 0.16 percent at 21,149.80, after posting their biggest weekly loss in more than eight months.

The broader Topix was down 0.4 percent at 1,589.56.

“Bargain hunters did come in to take advantage of price dips as the market experienced such a steep decline last week. But much of the action was futures-led and the rebound lacked strength,” said Yoshinori Ogawa, senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

“It will require some time for the market to regain its confidence. If sentiment was healthy, reaction to reports of upbeat earnings prospects, notably Sony, would be stronger.”

Sony Corp lost 0.55 percent, shrugging off a report in the Nikkei business daily that the company’s consolidated operating profit for the April-September fiscal period was likely to reach a record high.

Wall Street shares fell on Friday after technology and internet shares sold off further, capping another volatile week for U.S. stocks.

Asian markets followed suit, struggling to hang on to modest early gains, with the Shanghai Composite Index losing 2.2 percent.

“The market slide is no longer driven by fundamentals. Fear, loss-cutting position adjustments and selling by commodity trading advisors (CTAs) jumping into the downturn are driving the fall,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

Kourakuen Holdings Corp soared 11.15 percent after the restaurant chain operator raised its net profit forecast for the year through March 2019 to 739 million yen from 269 million yen.

Another company boosted by upbeat earnings prospects was Shin-Etsu Chemical Co, which gained 8 percent after lifting its net profit forecast for the year through March 2019 thanks to growth in its U.S. chemical and semiconductor silicon businesses.

Hitachi Chemical Co, on the other hand, sank 7.57 percent following media reports that it had falsified inspections for a material used in semiconductors.

Tokyo Tekko Co retreated 9.2 percent as the steel bar maker cut its net profit forecast for the year through March 2019 amid a rise in scrap iron prices. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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