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Nikkei turns negative on soft price data, Sony up

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Oct 27 (Reuters) The Nikkei average turned negative on Friday, sliding 0.7 percent as banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Inc. declined after weak consumer price data raised concern about the strength of the domestic economy.

Shares of Sony Corp. gained, as investors bet that the company's bad news had been largely factored in after it reported a quarterly loss on Thursday.

''It's the consumer price data,'' said Katsuhiko Kodama, senior strategist at Toyo Securities, referring to the decline in the Nikkei.

''It has increased concerns that Japan has not fully emerged yet from deflation.'' The Nikkei was down 130.63 points at 16,680.97 as of 0124 GMT. The broad TOPIX index was down 0.77 percent at 1,651.84.

Japanese core consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in September from a year earlier, lower than economists' consensus forecast of a 0.3 percent rise.

Shares of firms that are closely tied to the domestic economy, such as lenders, declined.

Mitsubishi UFJ fell 2 percent to 1.50 million yen.

Second-ranked lender Mizuho Financial Group Inc. fell 1.8 percent to 939,000 yen.

But Sony gained 2.3 percent to 4,930 yen. The company said on Thursday it swung to a quarterly loss due to the mounting cost of recalling millions of computer batteries.

However, investors were assuming that the weak earnings had already been factored into the share price, Toyo's Kodama said.

Reuters DKS VP0730

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