Nikkei flat; exporters up but Toyota weighs

* Toyota falls after recall hits U.S. sales

* Fast Retailing down after fall in Uniqlo sales

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average was flat 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 Norihito
Fujito, general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

The benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) shed 7.09 points to 10,364.54
while the broader Topix (.TOPX: ) gained 0.4 percent to 916.31.

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 at around 10,600, the market remained
vulnerable to profit-taking.

“Volume has fallen off a bit in recent days, and until we
really start seeing some increases here selling is likely to
emerge on any rises,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at the
equity division of Nikko Cordial Securities.

He added that there appeared to be a large number of call
options at around 10,500 and that selling could emerge before
this level.

Toyota shares fell more than 3 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.

Fast Retailing lost 4.5 percent to 14,350 yen to become the
biggest drag on the Nikkei after January sales at its Uniqlo
discount clothing store chain fell. [ID:nTOE61107W]

Among exporters Canon rose 1.8 percent to 3,670 yen and Honda
Motor Co (7267.T: ) gained 1 percent to 3,100 yen.

Pioneer (6773.T: ) shot up 7.4 percent to 376 yen. The Nikkei
business daily said Mitsubishi Chemical Corp will likely invest
1-1.5 billion yen ($11.1 million-$16.6 million) to take a small
stake in the electronics maker and the two firms will jointly
develop organic electroluminescent lighting equipment.

The investment by the unit of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings
Corp (4188.T: ) will be a key pillar of Pioneer’s restructuring
efforts, the Nikkei said.

Shares of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings climbed 1.9 percent to
383 yen.

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(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei flat; exporters up but Toyota weighs