CORRECTED – CORRECTED-Nikkei slips; consumer lenders fall on new rules

(Corrects Nikkei high in paragraph 11 to …10,109.86 …, not
10,107.52. The same error appeared in previous reports.)

* Nikkei slips in thin trade, some foreign buying-analysts

* Support to hold near 9,800; next targets 10,200, 10,300

* May see weekly gains of around 3 pct, best in three months

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, June 18 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average edged down
on Friday but looked set to post gains of some 3 percent on the
week, with foreign investors apparently starting to tiptoe back
into the market.

Shares of consumer lenders like Promise Co (8574.T: ) slid as
new regulations came into effect, including rules limiting how
much debt a customer can take on.

Market players said that if the Nikkei manages to consolidate
gains above 10,000, which has been both a support and resistance
level several times over the past year, it may set the stage for
a slow grind higher as risk avoidance ebbs.

“There was talk today that U.S. money may have been buying
early this morning, perhaps pension funds, and that the foreign
selling may have largely run its course last week,” said Hiroaki
Osakabe, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

“The Nikkei may now start to move slowly upwards,
particularly as the end of the quarter approaches and investors
start to look forward to quarterly results.”

Other analysts said European investors also appeared to be
buying a bit on Friday, but trade remained relatively thin.

Foreign investors sold a net 916.9 billion yen ($10 billion)
of Japanese stocks last week, compared with the 75.2 billion yen
they sold in the previous week and the biggest outflow in a
single week since March 2008, Finance Ministry data showed.

“It appears some Europeans may be buying today, with worry
about the euro zone debt situation having eased after the Spanish
bond auction, which also helped buoy the euro,” said Hiroaki
Kuramochi, chief equity marketing officer at Tokai Tokyo
Securities.

“But given how long it’s likely to take to solve all the euro
zone problems, uncertainty will remain,” he added, noting that it
will take some time for foreign investor buying to really
recover.

A robust response to a Spanish debt auction soothed worries
about the country’s finances and helped send the euro to a
three-week high on Thursday, levels near which it was holding
steady on Friday. [FRX/]

The benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) shed 0.1 percent or 7.08 points
to 9,992.32, falling further back from a one-month high of
10,109.86 hit on Wednesday, but looked set to post gains of some
3 percent on the week, which would be the best weekly performance
since mid-March.

The broader Topix (.TOPX: ) lost 0.5 percent to 883.48.

“While the immediate euro zone worries about Spanish debt
have diminished, as with Greece there’s a sense that the real
solution to the problems has only been postponed, and this will
provoke some uncertainty,” said Nagayuki Yamagishi, a strategist
at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“But there’s no question that risk avoidance has ebbed for
now.”

Yamagishi said the Nikkei’s upward trend might be confirmed
next week with a challenge of resistance near the 10,200 level,
about where the Nikkei’s 50-week moving average comes in.

In addition, a 38.2 percent retracement from the Nikkei’s
April high of 11,408.17 and its June low of 9,378.23 comes in
around 10,156.

Though Yamagishi believes a break above 10,200 could take the
Nikkei quickly up to 10,500, other market players say the
benchmark faces additional resistance around 10,300, its 200-day
moving average. Support was seen holding near 9,800.

Chip-linked shares edged higher after Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: )
touched a lifetime high of $272.90 a day after saying it sold
more than 600,000 units of its new iPhones.

Chip tester maker Advantest Corp (6857.T: ) rose 0.9 percent to
2,012 yen and Tokyo Electron (8035.T: ) rose 0.9 percent to 5,710
yen.

But consumer lenders tumbled in the face of the new rules.
The firms, once incredibly popular with foreign investors, have
already been hit both by regulations that lowered the maximum
interest rate they can charge and court rulings forcing them to
repay past interest deemed illegally high.

Promise shed 5.4 percent to 653 yen, Takefuji Corp (8564.T: )
dropped 5.6 percent to 285 yen and Acom Co (8572.T: ) declined 4.3
percent to 1,145 yen. Aiful Corp (8515.T: ) fell 3.7 percent to 129
yen.

Stock Market Advice

($1=90.92 Yen)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

CORRECTED – CORRECTED-Nikkei slips; consumer lenders fall on new rules