Nikkei slips as firmer yen hurts exporters

Nikkei slips as firmer yen hurts exporters


Updates to mid-afternoon

Tokyo: Tokyo shares slipped on Tuesday, 28 August, as investors watchful of currency moves sold Sony Corp and other exporters on a stronger yen, and banks and brokerage firms fell after losses by their US peers.

Nippon Yusen KK and two other major shipping stocks sailed higher after Standard & Poor’s raised its long-term corporate and senior unsecured debt ratings on them on Monday, saying the outlooks of all three companies are stable.

“Investors feel safe betting on those companies that stand to benefit from strong growth in the emerging markets," said Yosuke Shimizu, head of investment information at Monex Inc.

“There remains a fear that you never know where fallout of the subprime loan problems will surface," he said.

The benchmark Nikkei average lost 27.20 points or 0.2% to 16,274.19 as of 0416 GMT, while the broad TOPIX index fell 0.2% to 1,584.12.

First report

Tokyo: The Nikkei average eked out a rise of 0.2% on Tuesday, 28 August, led higher by gains in shipping firms such as Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, which rose by 1.8%, helping offset drops in retailers and exporters hit by a drop in Wall Street and a stronger yen.

Gains real estate stocks such as Mitsui Fudosan, which rose by 2% to 3,020 yen after Merrill Lynch upgraded the company to “buy" on Monday, also helped lift the market overall.

But trade was extremely slow, with 601 million shares changing hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section, the lowest volume since 29 September, 2006, and a lack of strong trading incentives was likely to keep movement limited.

The yen rose against the dollar to stand at 115.56 yen in early Asian trade from 115.85 yen in Monday’s late U.S. trade.

The benchmark Nikkei average edged up 30.67 points to 16,332.06, just off the session high of 16,343.28. The broad TOPIX index also crept higher to end the morning at 1,590.18, up 0.1%.

Declining stocks beat advancing ones by 870 to 675.