Japan's Nikkei ends flat, takes breather after strong rally

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Japan's Nikkei ends flat, takes breather after strong rally
Credit: © Reuters.

* Nikkei up 0.1 pct, brushes highest level since Dec. 18

* Profit taking caps market after recent sharp gains

By Shinichi Saoshiro and Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average pulled back from two-month highs to end flat on Thursday, as investors took a breather from recent rallies and as some earnings disappointments capped the broader market.

The Nikkei .N225 edged down 0.02 percent at 21,139.71 after rising to 21,235.62, its highest since Dec. 18.

The gains were exhausted by profit taking, which emerged after the index rose nearly 4 percent in the previous two days amid expectations for reduced U.S.-China trade tensions and Washington avoiding another government shutdown.

"The index has become top heavy, though trading volume is quote solid so the downside should be limited," said Katsuhiko Nakamura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

He said the Nikkei's resistance is seen at its 200-day moving average of 22,104.

Exporters rose as the yen JPY= weakened to a seven-week low versus the dollar, with Honda Motor Co 7267.T adding 1.3 percent and Advantest Corp 6857.T surging 1.6 percent.

Index heavyweight Fast Retailing 9983.T advanced 0.4 percent.

Asics Corp 7936.T fell 5 percent after the sporting goods maker posted a net loss of 20.3 billion yen ($182 million) for the year through December 2018 amid weak sales in the United States and Australia. retailer Otsuka Kagu Ltd 8186.T slumped 5.4 percent after it said it was exploring options to bolster its finances, including through capital alliances. Otsuka Kagu added that it was in talks with several firms but that nothing had been decided. the Tokyo Stock Exchange's (TSE) 33 sub-indexes, 22 were in positive territory, led by oil .IPETE.T and construction .ICNST.T sectors.

The broader Topix .TOPX was up 0.03 percent at 1,589.81.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,050 to 999.

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