Japan stocks pare losses after nearly 3-month low

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TOKYO, Nov 9 (Reuters) Japanese stocks pared their losses on Friday after hitting nearly 3-month lows, dragged down by exporters and high-tech stocks on a stronger yen and technology falls on Wall Street due to concerns about the U.S. economy.

The benchmark Nikkei average has shed more than 6 percent over five straight losing sessions, and Friday was more of the same as high tech shares such as Trend Micro slid, taking the market with them.

U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, led by declines in the Nasdaq Composite Index, which ended down 1.92 percent at 2,696.00, after tech giant Cisco Systems signalled the credit market woes were cutting demand from key customers.

''There's definitely concern about the U.S. economy and the impact of the subprime mortgage crisis, and that's definitely having an impact on Tokyo stocks,'' said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Shinko Securities.

''The Nasdaq fell pretty substantially yesterday, and the semiconductor index was down as well, so this is probably dragging on high-tech stocks.'' The Philadelphia Stock Exchange index of semiconductors ended down 1.5 percent after earlier sliding to its lowest level since August 2006.

Some bargain hunting emerged in afternoon trade, and market participants said that rises could be possible next week if U.S.

stocks and the currency rates hold steady.

''The Japanese economy per se isn't bad enough to warrant stocks going down to 15,000 or even lower. Things are actually relatively good, as a lot of company earnings have shown, but this isn't being reflected in the market,'' said Nagayuki Yamagishi of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co Ltd.

''If things hold steady, we could start to see buying of companies with good results next week.'' At 0450 GMT the Nikkei was down 0.3 percent at 15,717.46 after earlier sliding to 15,584.76, its lowest since August 20.

The broader TOPIX index was down 0.3 percent to 1,512.24, after earlier also reaching the lowest point since Aug. 20.

HIGH TECH HIT High tech shares were hit, with Trend Micro - a domestic leader in anti-virus software, tumbling 10.44 percent to 4,290 yen and becoming the biggest drag on the Nikkei 225.

Industrial robot maker Fanuc Ltd extended its losses, sliding 1.5 percent to 12, 010 yen. Tokyo Electron was down 2.3 percent at 6,060 yen.

One bright spot was Nikon Corp, which jumped 9.4 percent, to 3,720 yen, after it lifted its annual profit outlook above market forecasts.

The world's No.2 maker of professional cameras posted a 36.8 percent gain in quarterly profit on Thursday on demand for its entry-level digital cameras and raised its annual profit outlook above market forecasts.

REUTERS BJR ND1122

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