Nikkei dips as relief rally sputters ahead of holiday week

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei dips as relief rally sputters ahead of holiday week

* Nikkei off 5-week high as rally fizzles ahead of holiday week

* Trump's comments on North Korea a reminder of geopolitical risks

* Advantest, Omron tumble, Alps Elec gains on earnings

* Nikkei looks set to make biggest weekly gains since Nov

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average ticked down further from recent five-week highs on Friday as a relief rally driven by fading political worries in Europe fizzled ahead of Golden Week holidays next week.

The Nikkei .N225 fell 0.2 percent to 19,203.30 by mid-morning trade, off five-week high of 19,289.43 touched on Wednesday.

Sentiment was undermined slightly by comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that there is a chance of a major conflict with North Korea -- a stark reminder of lingering geopolitical risks in the region.

The Nikkei had gained 3.2 percent so far this week, which would be the biggest since mid-November, after the results of the first round vote in the French presidential election allayed fears that France would choose a anti-European Union president.

"Market players are reluctant to take positions now ahead of holiday week and the focus of trading is on shares of companies that just released earnings," said Tomoichiro Kubota, senior market analyst at Matsui Securities.

Semiconductor equipment maker Advantest 6857.T fell 8.2 percent and electronic goods maker Omron 6645.T dropped 7.8 percent after their earning estimates disappointed market players.

Although both companies expect profit growth in the financial year that started this month, their currency rate assumption -- of 110 yen per dollar -- was taken to mean their projection would be vulnerable, some market players said.

Robot manufacturer Fanuc 6954.T dipped slightly after its earnings had fallen short of market expectations before paring losses to trade up 0.1 percent.

Nintendo 7974.T turned positive after an initial fall as the market digested its earnings, which fell short of market expectations and suggested strong sales of its new Switch console. parts maker Alps Electric 6770.T rose 5.1 percent on strong earnings.

Mobile phone operator NTT Docomo 9437.T gained 4.0 percent also on upbeat earnings as well as on its dividend hike plan.

Other telecom shares topped the list of gainers among large caps as investors rotate into domestic demand-led shares. KDDI 9433.T rose 2.9 percent while NTT 9432.T gained 2.3 percent.

Overall trade is expected to slow next week, during which Japanese markets will be closed from Wednesday to Friday and many other markets in Asia and Europe will be closed on Monday.

The broader Topix .TOPX fell 0.1 percent to 1,535.06.

On the month, though, April looks set to be the best month so far this year for Japanese shares. The Nikkei is up 1.6 percent and the Topix is up 1.4 percent, both of which would be biggest gains since December. (reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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