Japan's Nikkei hits four-week low as tech shares sink tracking U.S. peers

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average touched a four-week low on Wednesday, tracking a tech-led selloff on Wall Street overnight, although auto stocks' gains amid a weaker yen capped losses.

The Nikkei .N225 ended the morning session 0.46% lower at 27,756.94, after earlier hitting 27,646.78 for the first time since Nov. 10.

Chipmaking equipment giant Tokyo Electron 8035.T was both the biggest percentage and points decliner, with its 2.88% decline shaving 53 points off the Nikkei.

Rival Advantest 6857.T slid 1.15%.

This was following the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index .SOX dropping 2.36% overnight. The Nasdaq .NDX led declines among the big Wall Street indexes, falling 2%, compared with a 1.44% retreat for the S&P 500 .SPX .

An overnight slump in crude oil weighed on energy shares, ranking as the worst performing Nikkei subsector with a 1% decline. Inpex 1605.T led losses, dropping 1.62%.

Tech was the other big loser, sinking 0.56%.

However, winners far outnumbered losers on the benchmark index, with 127 of its 225 components rising versus 87 that fell.

The broader Topix .TOPX managed to end the morning 0.12% higher at 1,952.52, recovering after slumping to a four-week low of 1,938.30 earlier in the session.

"With an absence of strong trading cues, we need to look at technical indicators," Kazuo Kamitani, an equity strategist at Nomura in Tokyo, said.

An indicator that "potentially has a lot of meaning today" is whether the Nikkei can finish above 27,696, the closing level from Feb. 10, he said, adding, failing to do so would mean the 200-day moving average turns lower for the first time in about a month, signalling further weakness for the Nikkei.

Automakers gained as the yen stabilized near 137 per dollar, retreating from its strongest level since mid-August last week, bolstering the value of overseas revenue.

Mazda 7261.T rose 1.9%, Honda 7267.T added 0.76% and Toyota 7203.T advanced 0.44%.
Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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