Japanese shares trade lower as stronger yen raises earnings concerns

TOKYO, March 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares traded lower on Friday, as a stronger yen raised concerns about impact on exporters’ earnings, while gains in heavyweight technology stocks capped declines.

The Nikkei index lost 0.26% to 27,348.72 by the midday break, and is set to inch up 0.05% for the week.

The broader Topix dropped 0.18% to 1,953.81 and is poised to post a 0.2% weekly loss.

“There were little market moving cues today. Shares fell because investors did not find strong reasons for buying,” said Chihiro Ohta, assistant general manager at the investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Toyota Motor Corp fell 0.36% and Honda Motor Co Ltd lost 0.53%.

Uniqlo brand owner Fast Retailing Co Ltd lost 1.16% to drag the Nikkei the most. Medical equipment maker Terumo Corp slipped 3.165 and a robot maker Fanuc Corp fell 1.15%.

Oil explorers fell 1.17% to become the worst performer among the 33 industry sub-indexes on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after oil prices fell.

Financial sectors were weak, with the banking index slipping 0.74% and insurance index losing 0.87%.

Chip-related shares, which tracked a gain in their U.S. peers overnight, limited losses on the Nikkei. Chipmaking equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd gained 1.73% and Advantest Corp rose 0.91%.

Toshiba Corp surged 5.08% after its board accepted a buyout offer from a group led by private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners.

Of the Nikkei components, 57 stocks rose and 161 fell, while decliners seven stocks were flat.

The volume of shares traded on the TSE’s main board was 0.52 billion, compared to the average of 1.28 billion in the past 30 days. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Varun H K)