Nikkei hurt by profit-taking, turnover at 2010 high

* Nikkei down 0.7 percent

* Nikkei hits 7-mth high at open then falters

* SQ futures and options settle at 10,420.74

By Antoni Slodkowski and Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Dec 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average fell 0.7
percent on Friday, as a higher-than-expected estimated settlement
for futures and options prices encouraged investors to take
profits on a 12 percent rally for the benchmark since the start
of November.

While sentiment for the Nikkei, which still lags other global
indexes for the year to date, remains robust, analysts say
technical signs that the market is overbought and the approach of
the year-end was keeping a lid on potential near-term gains.

“On top of profit-taking and overheating of the market, some
foreign investors are unloading positions and hedging ahead of
the Christmas break,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief equity
marketing officer at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

In active trade, the benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) closed the day
down 73.93 points at 10,211.95.

It hit a fresh seven-month high of 10,373.70 shortly after
the open but profit-taking kicked in after Nikkei futures and
options contracts expiring in December were estimated to have
settled at 10,420.74, slightly stronger than expected.

The broader Topix index (.TOPX: ) fell 0.4 percent to 888.22.

The settlement for futures and options, known in Japan as
special quotation or “SQ”, as well as continued interest from
foreign investors, who are now turning their attention to lagging
sectors such as insurers helped boost turnover to a high for
2010.

Turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section climbed
to 2.55 trillion yen ($30.5 billion), while some 3.1 billion
shares changed hands, the highest level since Jan. 14.
(Additional reporting by Chikafumi Hodo; Editing by Edwina
Gibbs)

Nikkei hurt by profit-taking, turnover at 2010 high