Nikkei slips from 1-mth high as U.S. earnings disappoint; Sony outperforms

* Sony rises after report it will cut about 1,000 jobs * Komatsu, Hitachi Construction off on Caterpillar earnings By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average retreated from a one-month high on Wednesday morning as disappointing U.S. earnings and weak U.S. economic data triggered profit-taking, while Sony Corp outperformed after sources said it will cut about 1,000 jobs.

The Nikkei was flat at 17,762.13 in mid-morning trade after opening 0.9 percent lower. On Tuesday, it rose 1.7 percent to its highest close since late December.

U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent in the wake of poor results from Microsoft while heavy machinery maker Caterpillar gave an outlook below expectations, which dragged down Japanese construction equipment makers.

Komatsu Ltd and Hitachi Construction Machinery dropped 3.3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

But the Nikkei’s losses were being trimmed as U.S. futures rose during Asian trade, a sign that U.S. stocks will likely rebound the next trading day, analysts said.

The S&P futures gained 0.3 percent.

Analysts also said sentiment was supported as the dollar stayed relatively resilient against the yen during Asian trade.

“The recent U.S. earnings were disappointing, but the mood is not too bad to the point where investors want to be entirely risk averse,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

The dollar was little changed at 118.00 yen, although it was but off last week’s high of 118.80 after soft spending data cast doubts about the U.S. economic outlook.

A gauge of U.S. business investment plans unexpectedly fell in December.

Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.4 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 1.9 percent, and Panasonic Corp rising 1.3 percent.

Sony Corp soared as much as 2.8 percent after sources told Reuters that it plans to cut another 1,000 jobs in its smartphone business.

Index heavyweights also limited the Nikkei’s losses. SoftBank Corp and Fast Retailing Co rose 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, and added a hefty 31 points to the index.

The broader Topix shed 0.5 percent to 1,419.24 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.6 percent to 12,872.62.

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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