* Financials underperform as market risk averse
* Exporters fall on stronger yen
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, April 11 Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday
morning, hurt by a combination of rising geopolitical tensions,
a stronger yen and volatile trading in Toshiba Corp
shares ahead of the third deadline for its earnings filing.
Toshiba opened higher but stumbled 5 percent. Two people
familiar with the matter told Reuters that the struggling
company aims to file its twice-delayed business results on
Tuesday, even if its auditors don't fully sign off on the
numbers to avoid a potential delisting from the Tokyo Stock
The Nikkei share average dropped 0.5 percent to
18,699.41 in midmorning trade.
Traders say investors remained on the sidelines due to
uncertainty around the upcoming French presidential election and
heightened tensions in the Middle East following last week's
U.S. missile strikes on Syria.
"The market is not too worried that more action on Syria by
the U.S. is imminent and investors are not expecting Le Pen to
win the French election, but the market is already tense," said
Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities.
"Investors are preparing for any possibility now."
In France, polls for many weeks have been showing centrist
Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen on track to
top the first round of voting on April 23 and go through to a
May 7 runoff.
While Le Pen's plans to ditch the euro and hold a referendum
on EU membership have spooked many investors, recent polls have
pointed to a tighter race, with support for far-left candidate
Jean-Luc Melenchon surging recently.
The risk-averse mood hit financial stocks. Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group
shed 1.4 percent each, Nomura Holdings declined 1.0
percent and Daiwa Securities Group tumbled 2.2 percent
as the dollar dropped 0.2 percent to 110.68 yen, moving
away from its overnight high of 111.57.
Exporters languished, with Honda Motor Co falling
0.9 percent and Panasonic Corp dropping 1.1 percent.
The broader Topix fell 0.6 percent to 1,490.52 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was down 0.6 percent to
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)