(Corrects the day Nikkei's lowest level hit in 2nd paragraph)
* Nikkei falls 1.2 pct amid broader Asian equity pullback
* Insurer sector worst performer on board
* Mining stocks underperform after oil prices tumble on
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Feb 27 Japan's Nikkei share average fell
to 2-1/2 week lows on Monday as the yen strengthened and as
financial stocks dropped on lower U.S. yields.
The Nikkei was down 1.4 percent at 19,012.43 points
by midmorning, after falling to as low as 18,995.55, its weakest
level since Feb. 9.
Exporters lost ground as the dollar dropped to as low as
111.925 yen on Friday, its first foray below the 112 level since
During Asian trade on Monday, the dollar slipped a further
0.2 percent to 112.00 on worries that U.S. President Donald
Trump's first major policy address to Congress on Tuesday will
not offer many new details on his tax reform or spending
Honda Motor Co dropped 2.2 percent, Advantest Corp
shed 2.0 percent and Panasonic Corp declined
"Investors recently confirmed that Japanese corporate
earnings will likely be strong next fiscal year. But if the
dollar falls below 110 yen, such hopes will change," said Takuya
Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Takahashi said that while analysts expect a double-digit
gain in Japanese companies' pretax profits for the next fiscal
year starting April, a dollar-yen level below 110 would stoke
concerns that companies may not achieve expected growth.
Financial stocks such as insurers and banks sharply
underperformed the overall market after U.S. benchmark 10-year
Treasury note yields dropped to five-week lows on Friday.
The insurance sector tumbled 3.7 percent and was
the worst performer on the board, while the banking sector
was down 2.4 percent.
Dai-ichi Life stumped 4.2 percent, T&D Holdings
dived 4.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
fell 2.7 percent.
Mining stocks were also on the defensive after oil prices
tumbled about 1 percent on Friday after U.S. crude inventories
rose for a seventh straight week. Oil prices were little changed
in early Asian trade on Monday.
Inpex Corp tumbled 3.5 percent and Japan Petroleum
Exploration dropped 2.1 percent.
The broader Topix fell 1.3 percent to 1,529.40 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 1.4 percent to
(Editing by Kim Coghill)