* Nikkei sheds 0.8 pct, Topix down 1 pct
* U.S. budget, debt ceiling standoff weighs on sentiment
* Investors focusing on earnings amid uncertain macro
* BOJ widely expected to keep policy unchanged
TOKYO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average fell to a
one-month low on Friday morning as a lack of progress in the
U.S. budget standoff raised concerns the crisis will drag on
until the next important deadline in mid-October to raise the
federal debt ceiling.
Investors are focusing on upcoming corporate earnings after
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic stimulus announced
earlier this week failed to provide an additional boost to the
The benchmark Nikkei was down 0.8 percent at
14,032.26, its lowest level since Sept. 6, in midmorning trade,
after shedding 2.3 percent in the past two sessions. The index
is still up 35 percent this year.
"Abe's speech on Oct. 1 marked an end of big-picture
positives supporting the Japanese rally. After that, the market
has refocused on what's going on in the U.S. and domestically,
on first-half corporate earnings," said Stefan Worrall, director
of equity cash sales at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.
"My clients are asking lots of questions about which
companies look like they will beat earnings expectations. That's
only occurred in the last few days."
Worrall added he is confident that bullishness will return
to the Japanese market once the U.S. political drama is
While some traders see the 14,000 level as support, there
could be more hedge-selling from option players if that level is
broken because there are a large amount of put-option positions
with a strike price at that level.
The broader Topix shed 1 percent to 1,162.24 in
relatively light trade, with volume at 36.3 percent of its full
daily average for the past 90 trading days.
Exporters were weak after the dollar slid to a five-week low
of 96.93 against the yen in overnight trade. The greenback last
traded at 97.13. A firmer yen lessens Japanese exporters'
competitive edge in global markets.
Panasonic Corp dropped 3.5 percent, Sony Corp
fell 2.4 percent and Daikin Industries Ltd
lost 2.3 percent.
Index heavyweight SoftBank Corp dipped 2.9 percent,
hit by profit-taking after the tech and telecoms company hit a
13-1/2-year high on Thursday. It was the most-traded stock by
turnover on the main board.
Investors are also looking for leads from the Bank of
Japan's two-day policy board meeting ending later in the day.
The central bank is expected to maintain its massive stimulus
and reiterate its upbeat view that the economy is strong enough
to weather next year's sales tax increase without additional
monetary policy measures.
- Investment & Company Information