Blue chips, energy shares drag Nikkei lower; volumes thin

 * Oil, gas stocks follow commodities decline
 * Selling in blue-chip shares as worries weigh before
earnings
 * Tokyo Electric down for first time in three days
 * Nikkei sinks below support at 9,612.51 -- April Nikkei
options settlement
 TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Tokyo stocks slipped for a
second straight session on Tuesday, as investors sold off
blue-chip exporters including car and electronics makers, on the
view that the post-quake rebound has been too rapid and they
could not fully price in the impact of the disaster that struck
Japan on March 11.	
 The Nikkei sank below a crucial support level after oil
prices extended the previous day's nearly 3 percent losses,
spurring profit-taking in energy shares that were seen as
overbought after recent rallies.	
 "Many people worry that more and more large-cap companies
including big automakers may cut their earnings estimates for
the business year," said Hideo Arimura, senior fund manager at
Mizuho Asset Management.	
 Sony Corp fell 2.5 percent to 2,513 yen and Toyota
Motor Corp dropped 1.5 percent to 3,210 yen.	
 Trading volumes remained depressed as the market awaited the
first post-quake Japanese earnings reports at the end of April,
with market participants looking to U.S. earnings for clues
about damages to global supply chains from the quake.	
 The Nikkei has already recouped about two-thirds of the
ground lost since the March 11 earthquake, but analysts said
potential gains before earnings would likely be hard won.	
 "The market until now thought that the quake's impact would
be most severely felt in the April-June quarter, but it seems it
may drag on for at least another quarter, keeping the market
depressed for much longer," said Arimura.	
 Alcoa Inc kicked off the U.S. earnings season
reporting first-quarter profit that beat estimates, but revenue
of the aluminium maker missed forecasts and the stock fell 3.6
percent in post-market trade.	
 By midmorning the Nikkei fell 1.4 percent or 139.74
points to 9,581.30, while the broader Topix index
dropped 1.2 percent to 841.85.	
 The benchmark index broke below a crucial support level at
9,612.51, where April Nikkei options settled last week, and
investors were keen to see whether the benchmark could rise back
above it before the closing bell. 	
 	
 OIL STOCKS SOLD	
 Shares of oil and gas developers Inpex Corp and
Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (Japex) fell prey to
aggressive profit-taking as oil extended the previous day's
decline amid mounting concerns that rising fuel costs will erode
demand and threaten the economic recovery.	
 Inpex, Japan's biggest oil and gas developer and one of the
biggest post-quake outperformers -- up 15 percent since the
close of March 10, the day before the quake -- fell 2.9 percent
to 635,000 yen. Japex lost 2.3 percent to 4,060 yen.	
 Analysts said that while falling commodities prices will
pressure energy stocks, in the long run they will also help to
ease worries over the impact of rising raw material costs on
input costs and margins, providing some support to the market.	
 Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of
the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, fell more
than 8 percent to as low as 458 yen on Tuesday, pulling back
after posting strong gains in the last two sessions.	
 Tokyo Electric shares came under strong selling pressure on
a report in the Nikkei daily on Tuesday that the power giant
would not pay a dividend for the previous financial year to
March and would also forgo payouts for the current year, hit by
increasing losses related to a crippled nuclear plant after last
month's devastating earthquake. [ID:nL3E7FB32A]	
	
 (Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Chris Gallagher;
[email protected]; +81-3-6441-1875; Reuters
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Blue chips, energy shares drag Nikkei lower; volumes thin