* Nikkei pulls back from 17,000 resistance as yen pares
* Suzuki shares rise on news of possible Toyota tie-up
TOKYO Oct 13 Japan's Nikkei share average gave
up early gains and slipped on Thursday as the yen clawed back
ground it had lost to the dollar.
The Nikkei slipped 0.4 percent by midday to
16,774.26, moving away from last Friday's five-week highs.
"Resistance for the Nikkei lies around 17,000 today, and it
is foreign exchange that largely determines whether or not it
would be broken," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at
The dollar skidded 0.5 percent to 103.59 yen, moving
away from its Wednesday high of 104.49 yen, which was its
highest level since late July.
The greenback had gotten a lift overnight after minutes of
the U.S. Federal Reserve's September policy meeting showed
several voting policy members believed a rate hike would be
warranted "relatively soon" if the U.S. economy continued to
"The minutes last night boosted sentiment for a
sooner-rather-than-later rate hike in the states," which lifted
the dollar, said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry
International Trading in Hong Kong.
"So 17,000 has been very much a resistance level, and given
the fact this morning that the yen had already broken down
through the 104 handle, there just wasn't that momentum."
Domestic economic concerns also remained.
These were underscored by a report in the Sankei newspaper
on Thursday that said the Bank of Japan was likely to cut its
consumer inflation forecast for the 2017 fiscal year to the
lower 1 percent zone, from its current 1.7 percent for the
fiscal year starting in April, as a stronger yen, weak oil
prices and sluggish consumer spending curb inflation.
Downbeat data from China was likely to weigh on sentiment in
the afternoon session. China's September exports fell 10 percent
from a year earlier, more than markets had expected, while
imports also fell 1.9 percent, official data showed on Thursday.
Shares of Toyota Motor Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp
rose 0.2 percent and 2 percent, respectively, after the
two automakers said on Wednesday that they plan to explore a
possible partnership, citing technological challenges and the
need to keep up with consolidation in the global auto industry.
Hoya Corp shares fell 1.9 percent after the
Japanese optical device maker said on Wednesday that it will
acquire Performance Optics of the U.S. for about $476 million.
The broader Topix was down 0.1 percent at midday at
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 0.2 percent to
(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)