January 9, 2014 / 6:25 AM / 4 years ago

Nikkei tumbles 1.5 pct, Sony posts best day since June

* Nikkei largely gives up Wednesday's 1.9 pct bounce
    * Sony marks biggest one-day percentage rise since June

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average shed
1.5 percent on Thursday after the previous session's bounce, as
investors stayed risk averse ahead of a key U.S. jobs report the
following day.
    The Nikkei ended 241.12 points lower at 15,880.33
after climbing 1.9 percent on Wednesday to snap losses on the
first two trading days of 2014. Tokyo stock markets began this
year's trading on Monday.
    The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday will further
indicate how the world's largest economy is faring - and
therefore, how fast the Federal Reserve will scale back
stimulus. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast 196,000
jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December.
    Sony Corp, the second-most traded stock on the main
board, surged 3.8 percent, its biggest one-day gain since June
    "Sony is being bought because it's been sold off recently
and while other tech stocks like Panasonic are being
bought back, Sony was still cheap," said Mitsushige Akino, chief
fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.
    "The market realises it was oversold and that the company
will eventually do restructuring of its own." 
    The broader Topix index was down 0.7 percent at
1,296.75, with 3.02 billion shares changing hands, modestly down
from a near three-week high of 3.04 billion set on Wednesday.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, which started trading
on Monday, dropped 0.8 percent to 11,710.87.
    BNP Paribas said it was bullish on Japanese equities in the
first half of 2014, forecasting the Nikkei to reach 18,000 by
June, but was cautious in the second half of the year.
    "In the second part of the year, the domestic economy should
slow after the rush in demand induced by the consumption tax
hike; at the same time, fiscal stimulus effects should fade,"
BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a report, adding that the Nikkei
would likely trade in a range of 15,000 to 18,000.
    HSBC, on the other hand, said it remained 'underweight'
Japan, saying that almost 35 percent of Japanese production was
now overseas, lessening the positive impact of a weak yen on
corporate earnings as some had expected.
    "Our work suggests that the yen has much less impact on
earnings than 10 years ago. This indicates that earnings may
disappoint analysts' optimistic forecasts," it said in a report.

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