* Nikkei ends down; approaches trough, says Nomura * Toyota makes modest gain on positive forecast * Gree, DeNA rebound, to scrap gambling games * Tepco surges on government capital injection, takeover By Sophie Knight TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average slid 0.4 percent on Thursday after lurching in and out of positive t e rritory as bargain hunting was offset by poor Chinese trade figures and concerns that euro zone instability could further derail global growth. "Dip-buying provided support after the Nikkei pierced 9,000, but investors were tentative and lacked conviction," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. Toyota Motor Corp rose 0.8 percent in heavy trade after positive earnings, helping to pare the index's losses, along with a robust performance from the utility sector . The Nikkei closed at 9,009.65, while the broader Topix headed 0.1 percent down to 765.42. The Bank of Japan's record purchases of 39.7 billion yen of exchange-traded funds on both Monday and Wednesday failed to prevent the benchmark index falling to an intraday low of 8,895.90, its lowest points since the bank announced an expansion of its asset purchase programme on Feb. 14. "Until there are new developments in European politics and more positive news from the U.S. and China, the yen is going to continue to strengthen and Japanese stocks will be sold off," said Fujito. "It's entirely possible that the Nikkei will open tomorrow in the 8,000s and tread around there." Concerns about slowing growth in China heightened after the country said imports grew just 0.3 percent in April compared to the previous year, far below expectations for an 11 percent increase in a Reuters poll and weaker than the 5.3 percent year-on-year increase in March. Exports rose just 4.9 percent year-on-year, undershooting analyst expectations for 8.5 percent growth, which market watchers said was likely due to the poor economic climate in the euro zone, which imports a fifth of China's exports. Strong jobs data from Australia helped propel the Nikkei into positive territory during the morning session, but the effect was short-lived. "The market's tone is very bearish and so anything which breaks that tone or is different from that tone has an amplified effect," said Stefan Worrall, director of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo. Investors retreated to defensive stocks, with utilities putting on a solid 2.9 percent. The sector was bolstered by Tokyo Electric Power Co's gain of 6.5 percent after the Japanese government acquired over 50 percent of the utility, which owns the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant. Japanese markets began to unravel on Monday after poor U.S. jobs data and the rejection by Greek voters of a bailout deal in an election, sparking fears the country may leave the euro zone. Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos will make a last-ditch attempt to form a government on Thursday and avoid a new election. Trading volume on the main board was up from yesterday's 1.8 billion, but at 95 percent of its 90-day average. Nomura said it expected the market correction since the one-year high of 10,255.15 on March 27 to end soon, with May 14, 25, 28 or June 8 among the possible days it could hit a trough. "We think the correction from March 27 is now in its final stages and the question is now the timing of the bottom," Nomura technical analyst Shoichiro Yamauchi said in a note. On Thursday the benchmark broached its 200-day moving average near 9,053.12. GREE, DENA BOUNCE Social gaming companies Gree Inc and DeNA Co Ltd rebounded after a battering earlier in the week, limiting damage to the wider market, after they responded to pressure from regulators and agreed to gradually phase out games that contain aspects of gambling. Gree advanced 2.4 percent and was the second-heaviest traded stock on the main board by turnover, ahead of DeNA, which jumped 7 percent and reported 2011/12 earnings ahead of market expectations. Renasas Electronics Corp, which leads the global automotive semiconductor market, plunged 14.3 percent after reporting a wider-than-expected annual operating loss and failing to give guidance for the current year, fanning fears it may need support from the government or parent companies. The company has been hit by a persistently strong yen as well as last year's earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand, which disrupted production.