February 5, 2015 / 1:57 AM / 3 years ago

Nikkei dips on oil, Greece worries; Hitachi tumbles

* ECB's move on Greece, oil price plunges sap appetite
    * Toyota down as upward earning revision fails to inspire
    * Hitachi tumbles, Sony jumps after earning surprises

    By Hideyuki Sano
    TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average dipped
on Thursday on news of the European Central Bank's hardline
stance on Greek debt and fresh falls in oil prices, while
investors took profits in Toyota and some others after
their unsurprising earnings. 
    Hitachi dived more than 10 percent after its
earnings failed to meet investors' high expectations, although  
Sony jumped more than 10 percent after forecasting
smaller losses. 
    The Nikkei share average dropped 0.6 percent to
17,577.23, turning negative on the week. Many market
participants say few investors have appetite to buy the Nikkei
above 17,500 and towards 18,000 noting that its valuation is
hardly cheap.
    Hurting sentiment was an abrupt move by the European Central
Bank to stop accepting Greek government bonds as collateral for
funding in what many saw as retaliation for the Greek government
abandoning its aid-for-reform program. 
    Oil prices crashed on Wednesday, with U.S. crude losing 9
percent, dashing hopes that oil prices are finally
bottoming out after many months of decline.
    Investors are also taking profits following earnings
    Toyota Motor fell 1.7 percent after the carmaker
lifted its operating profit guidance in a widely expected move.
    "The consensus view is pricing in pretty strong earnings. If
earnings come in line with expectations, the shares will face
profit-taking," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment
strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
    One of the biggest movers among large-cap shares was Hitachi
, which fell as much as 11.4 percent after the company
did not raise its annual profit estimate despite expectations it
would do so.
    By contrast Sony rose as much as 11.7 percent after
it said its net annual loss will likely be smaller than
previously forecast on cost cuts and strong sales of its image
sensors and PlayStation video game consoles. 
    "Given huge spikes in trading volume in these two shares, it
is almost certain that some long-short hedge funds are closing
long-Hitachi, short-Sony positions, or making fresh bets in Sony
and against Hitachi," Mitsubishi UFJ's Fujito said.
    Earning announcements remain a big focus, with companies
including Toray, Takeda Pharmaceutical and
Nikon due to publish earnings later in the day.
    The broader Topix fell 0.6 percent while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.8 percent.

 (Editing by Eric Meijer)

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