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Nikkei pulls back from 6-mth high as exporters sag; Fujifilm rises

Ayai Tomisawa
Monday, 25 Nov 2013 | 9:12 PM ET

* Nikkei may top its May high in a few weeks - analyst

* Fujifilm soars on report on development for cancer drugs

TOKYO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks retreated from a 6-month high on Tuesday morning as a pause in the weak yen trend gave investors an opportunity to book gains after the market's recent frenetic rise. The Nikkei dropped 0.8 percent to 15,495.28 in mid-morning trade after climbing 1.5 percent on the previous day to within sight of a 5-1/2-year peak reached in May. Analysts cited overbought signs in the Tokyo market, with the index trading 5.5 percent above its 25-day moving average of 14,681.79. "The market attracted sharp gains in the short period of time, so profit-taking is only natural," said Kenji Shiomura, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. He said the Nikkei's rising trend opens the way to breaching its May high of 15,942.60. "Investors are focused on the outcome of Black Friday. If headlines start showing positive figures as early as next week, we may see more rises in the market on hopes that U.S. consumption is strong," he said, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas shopping. The Topix shed 0.6 percent to 1,252.61. Exporters lost ground, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 1.1 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 1.2 percent and Sony Corp shedding 1.8 percent, after the dollar trimmed gains on the yen to 101.52, having earlier hit a six-month high around 101.91. Bucking the trend, Fujifilm Holdings Corp soared 4.1 percent to 2,799 yen, the highest since March 2011 after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company will create cancer treatments jointly with MD Anderson Cancer Center of the U.S., one of the world's leading comprehensive cancer hospitals. Analysts said exporters may lead the market higher in the coming months on expectations that their profits will improve further as the yen stays weak against the dollar. A weaker yen lifts their competitiveness abroad as well as their profits when repatriated. According to Bank Of America Merrill Lynch, of 1,460 companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first-section that have reported their earnings for the first half through September, companies' operating profits rose 26.9 percent and net profits jumped 90.4 percent. "This appears to be a clear evidence of positive tailwinds for corporate Japan in the form of 'Abenomics', the wealth effect of higher share prices, and a recovery in consumer confidence from higher bonuses and overtime pay," wrote Naoki Kamiyama, head of Japan equity strategy. Galvanized by the Japanese government's massive fiscal and monetary stimulus, the benchmark Nikkei has risen about 50 percent this year, gunning for its best yearly performance since 1972.