Nikkei dips on oil, Greece worries; Hitachi tumbles

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei dips on oil, Greece worries; Hitachi tumbles
Credit: © Reuters.

* ECB's move on Greece, oil price plunges sap appetite

* Toyota down as upward earning revision fails to inspire

* Hitachi tumbles, Sony jumps after earning surprises

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average dipped on Thursday on news of the European Central Bank's hardline stance on Greek debt and fresh falls in oil prices, while investors took profits in Toyota 7203.T and some others after their unsurprising earnings.

Hitachi 6501.T dived more than 10 percent after its earnings failed to meet investors' high expectations, although Sony 6758.T jumped more than 10 percent after forecasting smaller losses.

The Nikkei share average .N225 dropped 0.6 percent to 17,577.23, turning negative on the week. Many market participants say few investors have appetite to buy the Nikkei above 17,500 and towards 18,000 noting that its valuation is hardly cheap.

Hurting sentiment was an abrupt move by the European Central Bank to stop accepting Greek government bonds as collateral for funding in what many saw as retaliation for the Greek government abandoning its aid-for-reform program. ID:nL6N0VE5IV

Oil prices crashed on Wednesday, with U.S. crude losing 9 percent CLc1 , dashing hopes that oil prices are finally bottoming out after many months of decline.

Investors are also taking profits following earnings announcements.

Toyota Motor 7203.T fell 1.7 percent after the carmaker lifted its operating profit guidance in a widely expected move.

"The consensus view is pricing in pretty strong earnings. If earnings come in line with expectations, the shares will face profit-taking," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

One of the biggest movers among large-cap shares was Hitachi 6501.T , which fell as much as 11.4 percent after the company did not raise its annual profit estimate despite expectations it would do so.

By contrast Sony 6758.T rose as much as 11.7 percent after it said its net annual loss will likely be smaller than previously forecast on cost cuts and strong sales of its image sensors and PlayStation video game consoles. ID:nL4N0VE3FG

"Given huge spikes in trading volume in these two shares, it is almost certain that some long-short hedge funds are closing long-Hitachi, short-Sony positions, or making fresh bets in Sony and against Hitachi," Mitsubishi UFJ's Fujito said.

Earning announcements remain a big focus, with companies including Toray 3402.T , Takeda Pharmaceutical 4502.T and Nikon 7731.T due to publish earnings later in the day.

The broader Topix .TOPX fell 0.6 percent while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 .JPXNK400 dropped 0.8 percent. (Editing by Eric Meijer)

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