Nikkei edges up as investors buy on the dips; Panasonic soars on investment plan

* Nikkei has been flat this week * Panasonic soars to the highest since Nov 2008 * Toshiba tumbles after SanDisk cut outlook By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up on Friday morning in choppy trade as investors bought stocks on the dips after the previous day’s falls, while Panasonic Corp attracted buying after it announced an acquisition plan.

The Nikkei benchmark rose 0.4 percent to 19,548.48 in mid-morning trade, after diving 1.4 percent on Thursday, the biggest daily drop in 10 weeks. It also slipped from its 15-year high of 19,778.60 hit on Monday.

It has been flat for the week.

Analysts said profit-taking was natural as the Nikkei has hovering at 15-year highs recently.

“When the benchmark falls 300-400 points from its peak, the market is comfortable with buying back,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

He added that views on the Japanese market remained positive based on hopes of buying by Japanese pension funds including the Government Pension Investment Fund as well as expectations for better shareholder returns and rosy corporate earnings.

Panasonic jumped 5.7 percent to 1,614 yen, the highest since November 2008 after it said it was ready to spend 1 trillion yen ($ 8.4 billion) on acquisitions over the next four years.

Other exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.6 percent, Honda Motor Co was flat and Sony Corp rising 1.9 percent.

Bucking the trend, Toshiba Corp dropped 3.5 percent after SanDisk Corp cut its revenue outlook and its shares tumbled 18.4 percent overnight. SanDisk buys wafers for its NAND chips from a joint venture with Toshiba.

Japan’s consumer inflation data out earlier in the day had little impact to the stock market. The headline core CPI, which includes oil but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 2.0 percent on-year in February, short of a median forecast for a 2.1 percent rise, government data showed.

The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to 1,573.55 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.3 percent to 14,316.31.

(Editing by Eric Meijer)

Nikkei Futures

nikkeifutures.org@imediaone.com

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