* Hopes for rising profits from Japan Inc this FY recede -
* Toshiba falls after filing results unapproved by auditor
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, April 12 Japanese stocks fell to their
lowest in more than four months on Wednesday as rising
geopolitical tensions dragged all sectors into negative
territory, with exporters hit especially hard as the safe haven
yen spiked to a five-month high.
The Nikkei 225 share average dropped 1.3 percent to
18,506.17 in midmorning trade after falling to as low as
18,460.59 earlier, the lowest level since Dec. 7.
The dollar hit 109.36 yen, its lowest since last
November, as geopolitical fears fed a rush to safety.
North Korea warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the
United States at any sign of aggression, as a U.S. Navy strike
group steamed toward the western Pacific - a force President
Donald Trump described as an "armada".
Trump said in a Tweet that North Korea was "looking for
trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or
without China's help.
"The Japanese market will likely stall for a while," said
Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.
Nakai said hopes that Japanese companies could post
double-digit profit gains this fiscal year helped by November's
dollar-yen rally when Trump was elected have faded.
"Such expectations have receded, so it has become difficult
to see the Nikkei's price to earnings ratio rise," Nakai said.
Japanese companies are scheduled to release later this month
their earnings for the full year ended March 2017 and forecasts
for the current fiscal year.
Exporters, whose overseas profits shrink when the yen
strengthens, lost ground.
Automakers dropped 2.0 percent, with Toyota Motor
Corp, Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co
all falling between 1.4-2.0 percent.
Financial shares were also hit. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group dropped 2.0 percent, Mizuho Financial Group
shed 1.3 percent and Nomura Securities
declined 1.9 percent.
Elsewhere, Toshiba Corp fell as much as 3.6 percent
after it filed twice-delayed business results on Tuesday without
an endorsement from its auditor and warned its very survival was
The broader Topix dropped 1.2 percent to 1,477.79,
with all of its 33 subsectors falling.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 1.1 percent to
(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)