Tokyo shares lower on profit-taking

Tokyo stocks eased Friday morning on profit taking, but analysts said the market was still enjoying a broad upward trend supported by the weak yen, following another record performance on Wall Street.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 108.72 points, or 0.80 percent, to 13,440.44 in the morning session. The Topix of all first section shares slipped 4.02 points or 0.35 percent to 1,143.27.

Despite its slip, the market remained well supported on the firming dollar, which was seen moving toward the symbolic 100-yen mark following the Bank of Japan's sweeping monetary easing last week.

The greenback stood at 99.47 yen, falling from 99.73 yen in New York Thursday, where it hit 99.95 yen at one point. The dollar last topped 100 yen in April 2009.

"Japan shares should remain well supported by the yen's continuing fall, although resistance around the 100-yen mark for the dollar may prevent a breach of the level today," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.

The headline Nikkei should hover between 13,400 and 13,600, he told Dow Jones Newswires.

Among major shares, Sharp surged 8.31 percent to 339 following a media report that its creditor banks have decided to maintain a loan deal.

Sony dropped 1.48 percent to 1,660, Panasonic fell 1.12 percent to 709 yen and Toyota eased 1.06 percent to 5,580 yen.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.42 percent to 14,865.14 following better-than-expected numbers on jobless claims, while the S&P 500 rose 0.36 percent to 1,593.37, with both indexes sitting at record highs.