Tokyo stocks edge lower by noon


Tokyo stocks ended the morning session in negative territory on Monday with investor cautious ahead of a European Union summit this week aimed at addressing the region’s debt crisis.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange edged down 0.15 percent, or 13.25 points, to 8,785.10, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues was flat, nudging down 0.07 points to 750.85.
Although leaders of the eurozone’s four largest economies late Friday backed plans to support growth, they remain divided over many issues, said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager of investment strategy at Daiwa Securities.
The key at the summit, to be held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, is whether European bailout funds will be expanded and if talks over a regional banking union proceed, he added.
“Those matters are unlikely to take clearer shape,” Takahashi told Dow Jones Newswires.
Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities, said markets remain unconvinced of an improvement in Europe’s sovereign-debt situation.
“It remains to be seen if policy can be shifted drastically from austerity to growth,” Hirano said.
Electronics giant NEC fell 3.1 percent to 123 yen after Japanese media reports said tax authorities had found that the firm concealed more than 10 billion yen ($125 million) worth of income during the three years through March 2010.
Toyota Motor was up 0.64 percent at 3,105 yen after reports that it would broaden an eco-friendly technology alliance with Germany’s BMW.
Renesas lost 1.49 percent to 329 yen after a weekend report in the Nikkei business daily that the troubled chipmaker will issue roughly 50 billion yen in new shares to US investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
The reported deal follows recent stories that Renesas’s major shareholders NEC, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric, as well as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and other lenders, agreed to a support package worth about 100 billion yen.