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Nikkei falls 0.43 pct, banks and brokers down

By Staff
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TOKYO, April 17 (Reuters) The Nikkei average declined 0.43 percent on Monday as Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. fell after a report of a poor earnings outlook and banks and brokerages extended recent falls.

The other financial sector IFINS.was the worst performer among the Tokyo bourse's 33 industries, with Aiful Corp. extending steep losses into a second session.

Japanese financial regulators on Friday ordered Aiful, the country's biggest consumer lending firm, to suspend business at all of its 1,700 outlets for three days as punishment for coercive loan collection methods.

''The consumer finance sector is not the market's main driver, so I see little impact from the news,'' said Kentaro Nakajo, a chief manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities' equities department.

''The market is still in an adjustment phase given recent signs of an overheat,'' he said.

The Nikkei average was down 74.36 points at 17,159.46 as of 0054 GMT. The Nikkei has basically been on a downturn since it hit 17,563.37 on April 7, its highest close since July 2000.

The TOPIX index was down 0.63 percent at 1,733.13.

Shares in Kawasaki Kisen were down 2 percent at 684 yen. The Nihon Keizai business daily said on Monday Japan's third-biggest shipping firm is likely to miss its recurring profit forecast for the year ended March 31, hurt by rate reductions on European routes and surging fuel costs.

Aiful sank 11 percent to 6,420 yen and rival Takefuji Corp. was down 3.2 percent at 7,310 yen.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Japan's second-biggest banking group and the most active issue by value, was down 1.3 percent at 987,000 yen.

Banks had been bought in the past few months due expectations that a rise in interest rates would help the sector's earnings.

A market retreat hurt the brokerage sector, with No.1 brokerage Nomura Holdings Inc. falling 1.3 percent to 2,595 yen.

REUTERS PDS PM0641

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