November 27, 2013 / 1:48 AM / 6 years ago

Nikkei eases further off 6-month high; Panasonic, Nikon up

* Sources say Panasonic to sell 3 Japan chip plants, stock
    * Rakuten jumps after being promoted to main board Topix

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged
lower on Wednesday on profit-taking, peeling further away from a
six-month high, though traders said investors were looking for
opportunities to pick up bargains. 
    Nikon Corp, Ricoh Co Ltd and Canon Inc
 were in demand, up between 0.8 and 3.1 percent after
U.S. Hewlett-Packard Co beat revenue forecasts.
    Nikon is down 23.6 percent year-to-date and is the worst 
underperformer in the Nikkei this year, while the benchmark has
rallied nearly 49 percent.
    The Nikkei shed 0.4 percent to 15,461.20 in
mid-morning trade on Wednesday, easing further away from a
six-month high hit on Monday.
    "The market itself is a little bit down today, but still
people are looking for opportunities on the long side," a
Tokyo-based sales trader said.
    "Now that the earnings are over, people are looking for
growth scenarios," he added, referring to the company earnings
reporting season.
    Panasonic Corp rose 3 percent to a near three-year
high after sources said the consumer electronics maker will sell
three semiconductor plants in Japan to Israeli chipmaker
TowerJazz, bringing it closer to completing the
overhaul of its loss-making businesses. 
    The sources also said Panasonic is in talks with another
company to sell its five overseas chip factories.  
    Rakuten Inc jumped 10.2 percent after the Tokyo
Stock Exchange said the e-commerce operator will be promoted to
the main board Topix from Jasdaq for emerging
companies, starting Dec. 3.
    Currency-sensitive exporters came under pressure as the yen
came off a six-month low against the dollar overnight.
    Honda Motor Co Ltd, Mazda Motor Corp, Fuji
Heavy Industries Ltd and Daikin Industries Ltd 
were off between 0.4 and 2.4 percent. 
    As of Tuesday's close, Mazda Motor and Fuji Heavy Industries
were the second- and third-best performers in the Nikkei this
year, with gains of about 160 percent.
    Mobile operator SoftBank Corp was the best
performer, though the stock was down 2 percent on profit-taking
on Wednesday morning.
    A senior trader from a U.S. bank in Tokyo said he did not
expect massive profit-taking in the next few days as November
tends to be the year-end for many hedge funds.
    "Hedge funds have made good money this year and that those
who were planning on getting quieter towards the year-end have
already reduced their positions," he said. 
    Underscoring the positive momentum, the pace of
deterioration in Topix's one-month earning momentum slowed to
-0.65 this month from -1.83 in October.
    The Topix dipped 0.2 percent to 1,250.70, with volume at 27
percent of fully daily average for the past 90 trading days.
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