Nikkei softens after hitting 2-wk high, weak yen supports

 TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average edged
lower on Friday as profit-taking kicked in after it advanced to
a two-week high shortly after the opening, with investors keen
to lighten recently built positions ahead of the weekend.	
 The benchmark Nikkei average climbed as high as
9,805.93 -- its highest since March 14 -- on follow-through
buying spurred by a weaker yen, after posting solid gains over
the last two sessions.	
 But the market ran out of steam as it approached closely
watched technical resistance at the 200-day moving average
around 9,820.	
 Investors were also cautious about holding onto big long
positions over the weekend as uncertainty lingered over the
aftermath of last month's devastating earthquake and what looks
likely to be a prolonged nuclear crisis.	
 "Considering that today is the start of the new financial
year, we saw some solid buying at the beginning, but the market
turned careful about extending purchases," said Kazuhiro
Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities.	
 "Recent bullishness in U.S. stocks is encouraging, but at
the same time a strong economic recovery in the United States
would mean that it may have to consider ending its current
monetary policy, which will be negative for shares."	
 Japanese stocks are expected to draw support after the yen
slipped to a fresh three-week low against the dollar. The
Japanese currency was trading at 83.62 yen against the
dollar on Friday morning. 	
 Still, stock market participants wanted to see U.S. jobs
data due later in the day to assess the trend of the U.S.
economy, traders said.	
 By mid-morning trade, the Nikkei average was down 11.64
points, or 0.1 percent at 9,743.46.	
 The broader Topix fell 0.2 percent to 867.69.	
 Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co plunged 12
percent to 410 yen after climbing shortly after the opening.	
 The Mainichi newspaper, quoting an unnamed government
official, said on Friday that the Japanese government was
planning to inject funds into the utility but was unlikely to
take more than a 50 percent stake in it.[ID:nL3E7EV46V]	
 Shares in Japan's biggest oil and gas developer, Inpex Corp 
 , and other oil-related companies extended solid gains
made after the earthquake of March 11, as the price of oil hit a
2-1/2-year high on Thursday on ongoing supply threats due to
turmoil in Libya and the Middle East.	
Inpex jumped 4.8 percent to 661,000 yen in heavy trade. It
has surged nearly 20 percent since the quake, while the Nikkei
benchmark has lost more than 7 percent in the same period, as
the disaster spurred demand for oil and gas products amid a
shortage in energy supplies.
 (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Chikafumi Hodo and Antoni
Slodkowski; Editing by Edmund Klamann)
 	
 	
	
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Nikkei softens after hitting 2-wk high, weak yen supports