Japanese Shares Fall as Yaskawa Leads Tech SellOff

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TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) – Japanese shares ended lower on Monday, dragged down by sharp losses in Yaskawa Electric after the industry bellwether’s earnings outlook failed to meet the market’s expectations, prompting a sell-off in other tech stocks.

Nikkei average fell 0.77% to close at 29,538.73. It has been in a holding pattern after hitting a 30-and-a-half-year high in mid-February, with a break of either its March 18 high of 30,485 or March 24 low of 28,379, seen as needed for a new trend to emerge.


The broader Topix ended 0.25% lower at 1,954.59.


Shares of robot maker Yaskawa Electric, a leading indicator on Japanese manufacturers’ earnings trends, lost 7.11% after its February quarter earnings fell short of investor expectations.


The company expects 54.5% jump in its operating profit to 42 billion yen ($383.67 million) in the current financial year, nearly meeting analysts’ forecast of 43 billion yen.


Other technology firms also fell, with Nitto Denko, Shin-Etsu Chemical and Fanuc dropping between 3.7% and 1.76%.


“Today’s investor reaction to Yaskawa stock suggested that the market expectations for the company was very strong,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.


“Investors sold other tech shares because Yaskawa’s result implicated disappointing earnings for others. But if they could confirm strong earnings of other firms, they would buy them back.”


Supermarket operator Aeon also lost 4.08%, after subdued quarterly earnings.


More retailers will release their earnings this week while the country’s top companies will start later this month.


Toshiba rose 6.21% after the Nikkei financial daily said late Friday state-backed Japan Investment Corp (JIC) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) would join $20 billion takeover bid by CVC Capital Partners.


Small golf shaft maker Graphite Design jumped 8.12%, after Hideki Matsuyama become the first Japanese man to win a Masters victory at Augusta National.


Golf-related service firm Value Golf gained 13.01%.


$1 = 109.4700 yen


Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Junko Fujita; Editing by Rashmi Aich


Source: Reuters

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