Japan’s Nikkei pars losses as strong earnings offset Wall St slide

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average edged lower on Friday, but entered the midday break well off early lows as traders digested strong corporate earnings from domestic companies.

Markets are also awaiting a Bank of Japan policy decision, which came during the lunch break, giving traders time to digest the effects before the restart. Policymakers kept the stimulus setting unchanged, as expected.

The Nikkei lost 0.35% to 27,248.20, after briefly dipping below the psychological 27,000 mark for the first time since Monday, as overnight losses on Wall Street weighed on early trade.

The broader Topix recovered to rise 0.14% to 1,908.16.

For the week, the Nikkei rose 1.33%, while the Topix was 1.39% higher. The earnings season has accelerated since Thursday and will peak next week.

“Starting with chip stocks, there were a lot of strong earnings results from Japanese corporations,” said Maki Sawada, a strategist at Nomura.

Ahead of the BOJ’s decision, Sawada said keeping policy steady should have limited impact on the market.

Instead, the US Federal Reserve’s policy-setting meeting next week is the market’s top focus for now, and should limit any big moves over the weekend, Sawada said.

Chip equipment maker Advantest jumped 3.59%, making it the Nikkei’s best performer after Toyota-owned truckmaker Hino Motors, which gained 5.71%.

Robot-maker Fanuc was the worst performer, sliding 6.2% after cutting its earnings forecast.

Winners and losers were almost evenly split in the Nikkei, with 108 shares higher and 107 lower, while 10 were flat.

Real estate and financials were the best performing sectors, while industrials and energy led the losses. (Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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