Company News

Japan's Nikkei slips off 14-month high, Hitachi soars

TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average dipped on Thursday as profit-taking set in after a recent rally to 14-month highs while Hitachi spiked higher on its business portfolio restructuring.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.32% to 23,858.75, slipping further from Tuesday’s 14-month peak of 14,091.12, while the broader Topix lost 0.25% to 1,734.13.

Many investors were eager to take profits at current levels following gains of almost 20% since a bottom in August on hopes of a cyclical recovery in the global economy, and lately, on relief over a first phase Sino-U.S. trade deal.

“The Nikkei is now trading at 16 times its 12-month forward earnings so it is now on the expensive side for a normal time even though you wouldn’t call it a bubble,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, chief strategist at Mizuho Securities.

Meanwhile, few expect the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump to roil markets but are closely monitoring developments.

Cyclical shares such as securities brokerages and shippers were among the main drag, falling 1.6% and 1.3% respectively.

On the other hand, Hitachi jumped 4.1% to a near two-year high as investors welcomed its business restructuring drive.

The company said it would sell its listed chemicals unit, Hitachi Chemical as well as its diagnostic imaging business in deals totalling 673 billion yen ($6.2 billion).

Hitachi Chemical rose 11.6% while Showa Denko, which bought the chemical firm, dropped 1.1%.

The buyer of Hitachi’s imaging business, Fujifilm Holdings , ticked up 0.9%.

Isuzu Motors dropped 3.9% after it announced a deal to buy UD Trucks from Sweden’s Volvo AB. The deal was announced after the market close on Wednesday.

Some semi-conductor related shares gained following a jump in Micron Technologies after the bell on Wednesday.

The U.S. chipmaker said it expected a recovery in 2020 after a “cyclical bottom” in the second quarter, and also that it had received all requested licences to supply some products to its largest customer, China’s Huawei.

That helped to lift Sumco 3.6%, Advantest 2.4% and Disco 2.2%. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)