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Nikkei flat, car firms falls outweigh tech gains

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Apr 7 (Reuters) The Nikkei share average was flat on Friday, as declines in Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and other car makers that had hit lifetime highs in previous sessions outweighed rises by Kyocera Corp. and other technology firms.

While gains in the technology-heavy US Nasdaq Composite Index helped boost sentiment for Japanese tech stocks, investors were keen to lock in their recent winnings, said Yoku Ihara, manager of the investment information department at Retela Crea Securities.

''New York was a little weaker,'' he said, referring to the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard&Poor's 500 Index SPX> , both of which ended lower on Thursday.

''Also we are at the end of the week ... it is only natural that people want to take some profits, they have been making a lot on money lately.'' The Nikkei was up 0.02 percent at 17,493.10 as of 0047 GMT after earlier reaching 17,510.54, its highest since July 2000.

The TOPIX index was down 0.05 percent at 1,774.73.

Honda, Japan's third-largest auto maker, fell 0.5 percent to 7,810 yen after hitting a lifetime high in the previous session.

Toyota Motor Corp. fell 0.7 percent to 6,720 yen. It also hit a lifetime high on Thursday.

Electronic components maker Kyocera advanced 2.6 percent to 10,940 yen. Chip-equipment maker Tokyo Electron Ltd. rose 3.1 percent to 8,620 yen.

The Nasdaq hit a five-year closing high as shares in Apple Computer Inc. advanced for a second straight session after the company released software that allows Mac computers to run Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Shares in camera maker Pentax Corp. rose 9.4 percent to 807 yen.

The Nihon Keizai business daily reported on Friday that the company's group operating profit will likely rise to around 9 billion yen ( million) for the fiscal year 2006/07, up 73 percent from its estimated profit for the year ended in March.

Reuters PG VP0645

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