Nikkei edges higher; Toyota, Fast Retailing weigh

* Toyota falls after recall hits U.S. sales

* Fast Retailing down after drop in Uniqlo sales

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average edged up 0.3
percent on Wednesday, with rises by exporters on strong U.S. data
offsetting declines for Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ), whose U.S.
sales slid on its recall woes, and for Fast Retailing (9983.T: )
which also saw sales tumble.

Rising sales of previously owned U.S. homes and robust
earnings from U.S. bellwethers in the consumer and industrial
sectors pointed to a steady rebound in demand, helping lift
blue-chip exporters such as Canon Inc (7751.T: ).

Analysts said a wait-and-see mood was spreading ahead of U.S.
jobs data on Friday amid uncertainty about other Asian markets.

“U.S. shares may have risen yesterday, but China and India
both fell, and the Nikkei’s direction later in the day may be
determined by movements in Shanghai shares,” said Norihiro
Fujito, general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

The benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) rose 29.51 points to 10,400.60
by the midday break, while the broader Topix (.TOPX: ) gained 0.5
percent to 917.65.

Market players said that while it would not be surprising for
the Nikkei to try to break above its 25-day moving average, which
currently comes in around 10,600, the market remained vulnerable
to profit-taking.

“In addition, the recent yen weakening against the dollar
appears to have come to a halt for now, and this could also pose
a problem,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho
Securities.

The dollar was up 0.1 percent against the yen at 90.43 yen
(JPY=: ). Investors fret about a stronger yen since it eats into
exporter profits when repatriated.

Toyota shares fell 3.7 percent after its recall woes sent
U.S. sales tumbling 16 percent in January, and after a U.S.
official said the government could take the unusual step of
announcing a civil penalty against Toyota. [ID:nN0259282]

In addition, Toyota is facing a growing number of lawsuits
from consumers who complain their vehicles suddenly accelerate or
may do so, and want the world’s largest automaker to pay for it.
[ID:nN01208756]

Fast Retailing lost 4.3 percent to 14,380 yen to become the
biggest drag on the Nikkei after same-store sales at its Uniqlo
casual-clothing chain fell for the first time in six months in
January. [ID:nTOE61107W]

Investors will also be watching Japanese earnings. Companies
announcing results after the close include Honda Motor Co
(7267.T: ), Sharp Corp (6753.T: ) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
(8306.T: )

Stock Market News

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Nikkei edges higher; Toyota, Fast Retailing weigh