March 28, 2014 / 2:05 AM / in 4 years

Nikkei choppy as fiscal year-end nears; Yahoo Japan tumbles on eAccess buy

* Yahoo Japan tumbles on eAccess buy
    * Cautious trading before fiscal year end, April 1 tax hike

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 28 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were choppy on
Friday morning, as investors booked profits ahead of the fiscal
year end and as Yahoo Japan Corp dived on questions
about strategy following news it will buy mobile network
operator eAccess from SoftBank Corp.
    The Nikkei share avearge was off 0.2 percent at
14,647.17 in mid-morning trade after pension-fund buying drove
it 1.0 percent higher to 14,622.89 on Thursday, the highest
closing price since March 13. 
    For the week, the Nikkei is up around 2.9 percent.
    Analysts said that trading will likely remain subdued as the
end of the fiscal year approached, and as investors brace for a
potential hit to consumption from a sales tax hike on April 1.
    "Uncertainly of the tax hike impact may drag, so while
waiting for more macro catalysts, investors will look at
individual news for now," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical
analyst at Daiwa Securities.
    The spotlight was on Yahoo Japan, which slumped 10.9 percent
to a near four-month low and was the fourth most traded stock on
news that it will buy eAccess from Japanese wireless carrier
SoftBank for 324 billion yen ($3.17 billion). 
    "Yahoo is a content provider. What are they picking up
spectrum for?" a Tokyo-based senior trader at a foreign bank
said. "This is a very much non-core business. It doesn't make
much rational sense for them."
    Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp rising
0.1 percent, Sony Corp flat and Honda Motor Co 
up 0.3 percent.
    Also underperforming the market was Shiseido Co,
which dropped 2.7 percent after Citigroup cut its rating to
'neutral' from 'buy', saying that the brokerage expects a drop
in its operating profit for the year ending March 2015 after
having a likely strong year this fiscal year ending March 2014.
    The broader Topix fell 0.5 percent to 1,170.89,
while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.5 percent
to 10,598.97.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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