Nikkei drops after weak U.S. jobs data; Sharp soars on funding hope

* Toshiba tumbles after saying it will appoint committee to investigate earnings * Tomony Holdings jumps after saying it considers buying MUFG affiliate By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 6 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average fell on Monday as weak U.S. jobs data soured sentiment, but Sharp Corp jumped after a source said it may spin off its LCD panel business and seek financing from a government-backed fund.

The Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.3 percent to 19,381.15 points by mid-morning.

The U.S. March jobs report on Friday showed U.S. employers added 126,000 jobs, well below expectations for a gain of 245,000, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

“The data may suggest a delay in the U.S. interest rate hike and it’s hitting the Japanese markets’ mood,” said Chisato Haganuma, chief strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

But he added that upcoming earnings results should signal bright prospects for Japan’s economy.

“When corporate earnings are strong and the economy is resilient, stocks should rise,” Haganuma said, adding that Japanese companies are seen posting a double-digit profit gain for the current fiscal year ending March 2016.

Japanese companies will release forecasts for the current fiscal year when they report their full-year earnings for the year ended March 2015 next month.

Exporters were weak, with Toyota Motor Corp dropping 0.8 percent and Nissan Motor Co shedding 1.4 percent.

On the other hand, Sharp jumped as much as 6.9 percent to a 1-1/2-week high of 247 yen, after a source said it may spin off its LCD panel business and seek funding for it from the government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ).

Toshiba Corp dropped as much as 10.7 pct to 466.3 yen, the lowest since Feb. 3, after the company said it would appoint a committee to investigate possible problems with its accounting in its parent earnings for the year ended March 2014.

Tomony Holdings Inc soared 6.8 percent after it said it is considering buying MUFG affiliate Taisho Bank.

The Nikkei business daily earlier reported that Tomony will bring Taisho Bank into its fold as early as next spring, becoming the first regional banking group with a presence in Shikoku and the Kansai region.

The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,556.69 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.5 percent to 14,141.23.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)

Nikkei Futures

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