May 17, 2013 / 1:45 AM / 5 years ago

Nikkei falls for 2nd day on Wall Street; Hitachi gains on mid-term plan

* Hitachi up on higher operating margin forecast
    * Machinery data suggests companies' risk averse stance -

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, May 17 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average fell for
a second day on Friday as caution over the recent steep rises
continued to spur profit-taking while a pullback in Wall Street
soured investor sentiment, but ongoing optimism in the benefits
of a weak yen kept the index near the 15,000 mark.
    The Nikkei shed 0.3 percent to 14,992.83 in
mid-morning trade, moving away from a 5 1/2-year high of
15,155.72 tapped Thursday.
    Also limiting the losses is strong machinery orders released
in the morning, in which core machinery orders jumped a
bigger-than-expected 14.2 percent in March, the quickest monthly
pace in eight years.
    The Topix gained 0.3 percent to 1,248.65.
    But investors remained cautious as manufacturers expect core
orders to fall in the second quarter, reflecting companies'
management's risk-averse stance on capital spending.
    "For the time being, although sentiment for the long-term
remains upbeat, companies' conservative stance on investment is
souring the mood. And a pullback is not surprising given the
steep rises recently and weak overseas stocks," said Toshihiko
Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities.
    Exporters were weak, with Sony Corp falling 2.3
percent, Honda Motor Co shedding 0.7 percent and
Panasonic Corp sliding 1.6 percent.
    But Hitachi Ltd bucked the weakness, rising 2
percent after saying that it will expand its global workforce
over the next three years, while aiming to boost its annual
operating profit margin to more than 7 percent from 4.7 percent.
    Analysts said that investors will stay on the sidelines and
refrain from taking large positions before the weekend.
    U.S. stocks fell on Thursday when a Federal Reserve regional
president said the central bank could begin easing up on its
monetary stimulus this summer.  
    The Nikkei has risen around 6 percent since the dollar
punched through the 100-yen mark last Thursday, which has
prompted some profit-taking.
    The yen last traded at 102.32 to the dollar.
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