* Chip equipment makers surge
* Foreign investors net sellers of Japanese shares last week
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, March 30 Japan's Nikkei share average
edged down on Thursday morning pressured by a pause in the weak
yen trend, while mining shares firmed on gains in oil prices.
The Nikkei dropped 0.2 percent to 19,175.10 in
The dollar slumped on Monday and hit Japanese equities after
the U.S. House of Representatives pulled a bill to overhaul U.S.
healthcare insurance, which knocked the wind out of the
dollar-supportive "Trump trade."
The U.S. currency was up 0.1 percent at 111.195 yen,
but far lower than a level above 115 yen hit a few weeks ago.
"Investors have bought Japanese stocks mainly because of the
strong dollar-yen trend. Trump's healthcare defeat threw a wet
blanket on the Japan market's rally since last November," said
Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Japanese stocks have soared more than 10 percent since
Trump's election on hopes his administration will boost U.S.
economic growth to 3 percent or even higher.
On Thursday, Japanese insurers and banks, which hunt for
higher yield products, were weaker after U.S. Treasury debt
yields slid on lingering uncertainty surrounding the Trump
administration's economic policies.
MS&AD Insurance dropped 0.6 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group shed 0.5 percent and Mizuho Financial
Group declined 0.8 percent.
Analysts said that while investors focus on Trump's economic
stimulus policies, investors may pick up Japanese stocks with
strong earnings prospects such as semiconductor equipment
On Thursday, Tokyo Electron rose 1.5 percent and
Advantest Corp surged 1.9 percent.
Also outperforming the market were mining stocks, with Inpex
Corp rising 1.3 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration
Co gaining 0.5 percent after oil prices rose more than
2 percent on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, capital flows data showed that foreign investors
remained net sellers of Japanese stocks for the week ending on
Foreigners sold a net 754.3 billion yen worth of shares in
the week through Mar. 25, after selling a net 585.3 billion yen
in the week before that.
The broader Topix declined 0.4 percent to 1,536.23
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.4 percent to
(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)