Company News

Nikkei falters, first 4-wk losing streak in a year

* Equity financing, policy worries, yen rise dent shares

* Sony tumbles after growth plan fails to reassure

* Falls limited as bank shares gain on short-covering

* Volume picks up, above last week’s daily average

By Masayuki Kitano

TOKYO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.5 percent on Friday and logged its first four-week losing streak in over a year, with Sony 6758.T sliding after its new growth strategy failed to reassure investors. Helping to temper the Nikkei's decline were gains in banking stocks, battered recently by concerns about fundraising after top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T announced a massive share sale this week.

The Nikkei slid 2.8 percent on the week for its fourth straight weekly drop, the first such losing streak since a four- week period during September-October 2008, when equities tumbled globally on a wave of deleveraging and the unwinding of risky carry trades.

The Nikkei extended its declines this week, hurt by a recent flurry of equity financing, uncertainty about the economic policies of the new Democratic Party-led government and the yen’s rise against the dollar.

Adding to the selling pressure was loss-cut selling by Japanese retail investors in margin trading, and there was also some talk of selling by overseas investors during the week.

“When you think about why shares have been falling, one reason is that with the change in the government, it has become hard to get a good read on economic policy,” said Tsutomu Yamada, market analyst at Securities.

“The key is whether they can come up with a strategy that will convince people that there won’t be a double-dip in the economy next year or in the next fiscal year,” Yamada said.

The Nikkei fell 51.79 points to a four-month closing low of 9,497.68 .N225.

Trade was active, with 2.1 billion shares changing hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section compared to last week’s daily average of 1.7 billion. Advancing shares beat declining ones 829 to 708.

The Nikkei may be poised for a rebound in the near-term with the relative strength index showing it has been over-sold.

Support for the Nikkei lies at the 200-day moving average of 9,344.25, which is also very close to a 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its rise to an end-August peak of 10,767 from an early March trough of 7,021.28. Below that support lies at the Nikkei’s July 13 low near 9,050.

The broader Topix index edged up 0.1 percent to 838.71 .TOPX.

Tokyo’s stock market will be closed on Monday for a public holiday.


Sony, which is heading for its second straight annual loss, said on Thursday that it would launch 3D TVs and new networked products and services as part of a strategy help it return to growth. [ID:nT265644]

But Sony also pushed back an elusive target of an operating profit margin of 5 percent to the financial year to March 2013. That target had been set by CEO Howard Stringer in 2005 for the year to March 2008.

Sony shed 2.4 percent to 2,410 yen after hitting a low of 2,375 yen, its lowest level in nearly four months.

Advantest Corp 6857.T and other chip-related shares slid, following falls by U.S. peers after a brokerage cut its growth outlook for the semiconductor industry.

U.S. tech stocks were hammered on Thursday after Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cut its 2010 growth outlook for the semiconductor industry on concerns about a rising inventory glut, and downgraded 10 stocks including Intel Corp INTC.O.

Advantest, which makes chip testing equipment, fell 2.9 percent to 2,030 yen, while Tokyo Electron 8035.T lost 3 percent to 4,860 yen. Nikon Corp 7731.T, which makes steppers, shed 2.8 percent to 1,592 yen.

Among the market's gainers was Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings 4188.T, which jumped 9.2 percent to 321 yen after UBS and Nomura Securities upgraded the company's shares.

Both brokerages cited Mitsubishi Chemical's announcement on Thursday that it would launch a roughly 228 billion yen ($2.6 billion) bid to buy acrylic fibre and resins maker Mitsubishi Rayon 3404.T. [ID:nTFD006447]

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.1 percent to 471 yen, while Japan's No. 3 bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group 8316.T gained 3.5 percent to 2,815 yen and Mizuho Financial Group 8411.T climbed 1.9 percent to 158 yen. (Additional reporting by Elaine Lies and Takeshi Yoshiike; Editing by Joseph Radford)