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Nikkei falls on Paris attacks, weak GDP raises stimulus expectations
November 16, 2015 / 1:56 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei falls on Paris attacks, weak GDP raises stimulus expectations

* Weak Japan GDP draws expectations for more measures - traders

* Paris attacks hit airline and travel agency stocks

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell to the lowest in more than a week on Monday morning after Friday night’s attacks in Paris curbed risk appetite, dragging down exporters as well as airline and travel agency stocks.

On the other hand, weak data showing that Japan’s economy slipped back into recession in the last quarter drew market expectations for the government to launch stimulus measures, which lent some support to sentiment.

The world’s third-largest economy shrank an annualised 0.8 percent in July-September, more than a median market forecast for a 0.2 percent contraction, government data showed on Monday.

The data may influence affect debate among policymakers on how much fiscal spending should be earmarked in a supplementary budget that is expected to be compiled this fiscal year.

The Nikkei dropped 1.0 percent to 19,408.97 in mid-morning trade after declining to as low as 19,252.04, the lowest since Nov. 6.

Analysts said that Monday’s drop was mainly triggered by risk-aversion after Islamic State-linked attackers carried out a series of coordinated assaults in Paris that killed more than 130 people.

“The Japanese market was overbought, so anything could trigger a correction, and the attacks in Paris became one,” said Chihiro Ohta, general manager at investment research at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that foreign investors are likely to shun risky assets for the time being.

The safe-haven yen strengthened, dragging down exporters. Toyota Motor Corp shed 1.6 percent, Nikon Corp dropped 1.6 percent and Mazda Motor Corp declined 2.1 percent.

Airline stocks lost ground as the Paris attacks sapped confidence in travel and tourism stocks, with ANA Holdings Inc falling 2.5 percent and Japan Airlines dropping 3.1 percent. Travel agency stocks tumbled, with H.I.S. Co diving 4.7 percent, KNT-CT Holdings Co nosediving 5.1 percent, Eurasia Travel dropping 3.5 percent and Nikko Travel Co shedding 4.5 percent.

On the other hand, Japan’s weak quarterly economic data boosted expectations that the government may have to launch stimulus measures to bolster the economy, traders said.

“The headline was weak, but the market is shifting to expectations for more measures,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.

He noted that the market will likely continue in its hope that the Bank Of Japan will ease policy at some future point.

The broader Topix dropped 0.8 percent to 1,573.95 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.7 percent to 14,183.04. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Edititng by Eric Meijer)

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