Japanese shares fell a second day, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average (NKY) sliding to a three-month low, as concern Greece may exit the euro and slowing China trade sapped demand for riskier assets. Losses were limited on Toyota Motor Corp.’s improved earnings forecast.
Canon Inc., a camera maker that gets 31 percent of its revenue in Europe, lost 0.7 percent. Fanuc Corp. (6954), a maker of automation controls used in Chinese factories, fell 0.3 percent. Toyota gained 0.8 percent. Tokyo Electric Power Co. jumped 6.5 percent after the government took control of the utility.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.4 percent to 9,009.65, its lowest close since Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. in Tokyo after swinging between gains and losses at least 10 times. The broader Topix Index lost less than 0.1 percent to 765.42.
“Greece may be going back to square one and fall into chaotic default without getting a second bailout,” said Hitoshi Asaoka, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., a unit of Japan’s third-largest bank by market value. “There’s been nothing negative about earnings at domestic companies, but the market attention has been deflected.”
The Nikkei 225 earlier fell as low as 8,985.90, dropping below 9,000 for the first time since Feb. 14, when the Bank of Japan surprised the market by expanding its government bond purchases. The gauge has retreated 12 percent from this year’s high on March 27 amid concern resistance to austerity measures will worsen Europe’s debt crisis and China will refrain from further easing to spur growth.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.3 percent today. The gauge slid 0.7 percent in New York yesterday to the lowest level in two months as coalition talks in Greece reached an impasse, stoking concern the country may not hold to the terms of its two bailouts negotiated since May 2010, leading it to a possible default and exit from the euro.
Canon fell 0.7 percent to 3,460 yen. Shimano Inc., a maker of bicycle parts that generates 36 percent of its revenue in Europe, lost 3.2 percent to 4,920 yen.
Stocks also fell after China’s exports rose 4.9 percent from a year earlier, the customs bureau said on its website today. That compares with the 8.5 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 33 analysts. Import growth of 0.3 percent trailed forecasts for a 10.9 percent gain.
Fanuc slid 0.3 percent to 13,290 yen. Komatsu Ltd. (6301), a construction machinery maker that gets 14 percent of its sales out of China, lost 0.4 percent to 2,052 yen.
Stocks on the Topix are valued at 0.93 times book value, compared with 2.15 for the S&P 500 and 1.37 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. A value less than one means investors can buy companies for less than the value of their assets.
“Stocks are very cheap, and I’ve been buying a lot today and yesterday,” said Ichiro Takamatsu, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Bayview Asset Management Co. that oversees about $1.9 billion.
Among stocks that rose, Toyota advanced 0.8 percent to 3,170 yen after Asia’s biggest carmaker forecast profit will more than double to a five-year high and revenue will climb more than analysts estimated.
Net income may increase to 760 billion yen ($9.5 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 2013, after falling to 283.6 billion yen, Toyota said yesterday. The carmaker forecast revenue will increase 18 percent to 22 trillion yen, exceeding the 20.8 trillion yen average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
Tokyo Electric Power, owner of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, climbed 6.5 percent to 196 yen after the government took over the utility and agreed to provide 1 trillion yen as part of a bailout.
The Nikkei 225 Volatility Index (VNKY) gained 0.2 percent to 21.89, indicating traders expect a swing of 6.3 percent on the benchmark gauge over the next 30 days.
To contact the reporter on this story: Yoshiaki Nohara in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at email@example.com