Nikkei down 0.5 pct, Fast Retailing sold

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TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) The Nikkei average was down 0.5 percent on Friday, dragged down by Fast Retailing Co Ltd, following a big rally the previous session.

Nikon Corp, Tokyo Electron Ltd and other semiconductor-related stocks dropped after Goldman Sachs lowered its ratings on them as it has turned cautious on the sector on expected profit declines in the 2008/09 business year.

But overall, market sentiment was not too bad, and some had expected a bigger drop.

''It had looked like the Nikkei was pushed up yesterday in connection with today's settlement of index options contracts,'' said Masayoshi Okamoto, head of dealing at Jujiya Securities.

''But even after the settlement price was fixed, the index's fall was smaller than expected, meaning the market's gains in the previous session were due to more than options settlement-related moves.'' As of 0114 GMT, the benchmark Nikkei was down 78.76 points at 17,380.22. The broader TOPIX index fell 0.7 percent to 1,665.23.

Shares of Fast Retailing tumbled 6.9 percent to 6,990 yen after the company said its annual operating profit fell a bigger-than-expected 8 percent on sluggish sales, but it forecast a 12 percent rise for this business year.

Nikon fell 5.7 percent to 4,10 yen, and Tokyo Electron was down 1.8 percent at 7,260 yen.

Nintendo Co Ltd fell 1.7 percent to 67,900 yen after hitting all-time high of 69,500 yen the previous session.

Reuters DKS VP0707

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