Nikkei edges down as U.S. cues awaited, brewers slide

the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges, retail investors bought
Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 | 9:22 PM ET

* Retail investors seen taking profits on recent gains

* Brewers Sapporo, Asahi slide on weak profit outlooks

* Calsonic Kansei bucks weakness on forecast hike

TOKYO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average edged down on Thursday after hitting a 1-1/2 week high the previous day as investors awaited more U.S. economic data, while brewers like Sapporo Holdings fell on lacklustre profit forecasts. The Nikkei was down 0.4 percent at 14,737.57 in midmorning trade, following a three-day winning streak. On Wednesday it had risen to 14,800.06, its highest close since Jan. 31. Analysts said that the Nikkei faced resistance at the psychologically key 15,000-line and that it could trade above that level if U.S. data, such as retail sales due later on Thursday, cheer investors. "Foreign investors need more macro catalysts to chase the market higher so they're staying on the sidelines. On the other hand, retail investors are taking profits from recent gains," said Jun Yunoki, a strategist at Nomura Securities. According to data compiled by Yunoki using figures released 620 billion yen ($6 billion) worth of shares on the two bourses in the week of Jan. 27, the highest since October 1987. "When the market is falling, dips can create buying opportunities for retail investors," he said. The Nikkei fell 7.8 percent in the last week of January. On Thursday, Sapporo Holdings and Asahi Group Holdings both slid to one-week lows, down 4.6 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, after the brewers forecast 2014 operating profits that missed analysts' expectations. Exporters were weak as the depreciating yen trend stalled. Toyota Motor Corp dropped 1.3 percent, Honda Motor Co fell 1.1 percent and Nikon Corp shed 0.8 percent. But Calsonic Kansei Corp jumped 6.1 percent to 539 yen, its highest since Jan. 23, after the auto parts maker raised its annual net profit outlook by 29 percent. The broader Topix lost 0.6 percent to 1,212.50. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, slipped 0.6 percent to 10,954.89.