* Trump's "big mouth" creates volatility - analyst
* Nikkei has fallen 4 pct since beginning of 2017
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, April 13 Japanese stocks posted fresh
four-month lows on Thursday morning as the yen spiked against
the dollar after U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S
currency was too strong, hitting automakers and tech shares
The Nikkei 225 share average dropped 1.0 percent to
18,360.08 in midmorning trade, hitting as low as 18,304.72
earlier, the lowest level since Dec. 5.
The greenback took a heavy hit after Trump told the Wall
Street Journal that the dollar "is getting too strong" and that
he would prefer the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low.
This week, Japanese stocks have already been hammered by
escalated geopolitical concerns. Rising U.S. tensions with
Russia, North Korea and Syria after U.S missile strikes in Syria
last week and the moving of U.S. warships toward the Korean
Peninsula have kept investors cautious.
The Nikkei has fallen 4.0 percent since the beginning of the
On Wednesday, Trump also said that his administration will
not label China a currency manipulator, backing away from a
"Trump's big mouth...is creating volatility in the market,"
said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, adding that short-term
hedge funds might welcome the volatility, but a lot of other
investors are cautious.
Eyes are also on next week's Japan-U.S. meeting led by
Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence to
discuss economic relations.
On Thursday, the Asahi Shimbun reported that the United
States is pushing for trade to be a key issue in top-level
economic talks with Japan.
The newspaper said that Washington's demand, made last week,
did not specify any trade areas for discussion, but reported
that a U.S. government source said the Trump administration
mainly wants to discuss cars and agriculture.
Thursday's big losers included automakers, with Toyota Motor
Corp shedding 1.6 percent, Mazda Motor Corp
stumbling 2.6 percent and Subaru Corp declining 1.2
As the dollar hit a five-month low of 108.920 yen,
other exporters were also battered on worries that the strong
yen would hurt their earnings. Meanwhile, the latest Bank Of
Japan tankan survey showed that big manufacturers expect the
dollar to average 108.43 yen for this fiscal year.
Chip equipment makers, which had outperformed lately,
languished. Advantest Corp dived 4.1 percent, while
Tokyo Electron shed 2.8 percent.
Financial stocks, which hunt for high-yielding products,
also lost ground after Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields
at one point dropped 2.259 percent overnight, which
was the lowest since Nov. 17.
Dai-ichi Life Holdings tumbled 2.8 percent, T&D
Holdings slipped 2.7 percent and Mizuho Financial Group
declined 1.6 percent.
The broader Topix fell 1.1 percent to 1,462.60 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was down 1.2 percent to
(Editing by Sam Holmes)