Nikkei eases, insurers skid on Harvey impact fears

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei eases, insurers skid on Harvey impact fears
Credit: © Reuters.

* Japanese property & casualty insurer shares fall

* Oil subindex weakens as investors assess storm damage

* Weaker dollar after Jackson Hole saps sentiment

TOKYO, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged lower on Monday, as investors assessed the impact of a weaker dollar following a central bank conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as the damage from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Japanese property & casualty insurers' shares skidded as investors fretted about the broader impact of the major storm that hit Houston on Sunday. Nikkei .N225 was down 0.1 percent at 19,430.65 at the end of morning trading, after logging its sixth straight weekly fall for its longest losing streak since January 2014.

A stronger yen weighed on stock market sentiment. The greenback was down 0.3 percent at 109.14 yen JPY= . FRX/

The dollar came under pressure after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made no reference to U.S. monetary policy in her speech at the Fed's annual conference in Jackson Hole, while the euro surged after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi refrained from mentioning the euro's recent strength. focus has turned from Jackson Hole to the U.S. storm over the weekend," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) Securities.

"We don't know many details at this time, but we can see the footage of the damage and we know that it is a very serious situation in Houston," he said.

Coastal refineries in the storm area account for a quarter of U.S. crude oil refining capacity. The U.S. Department of Energy said it was ready to release crude oil from the nation's emergency stockpile if needed due to the impact of Harvey, though crude cannot be processed if refineries remain shut. Tokyo Stock Exchange's oil & coal sub-index .IPETE.T was down 0.8 percent.

Shares of Japan's largest property & casualty insurers also dropped. The direct cost of the storm's impact is still unknown, and the global web of the industry's re-insurance ties means that some of the fallout might eventually be borne by insurers far from the scene.

Tokio Marine Holdings 8766.T was down 0.8 percent, Sompo Holdings 8630.T fell 0.1 percent, and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings 8725.T dropped 0.7 percent.

Shares of H.I.S. Co 9603.T surged 9.1 percent, touching their highest in a year and a half, after the Japanese travel agency on Friday posted a jump in its recurring profit in the nine months through July 31. of Enomoto Co 6928.T were untraded amid a glut of buy orders, after the components manufacturer said on Friday that it would conduct a one-to-four stock split on Oct. 1 for shareholders as of Sept 30.

The broader Topix .TOPX fell 0.1 percent to 1,596.09, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 .JPXNK400 was also down 0.1 percent at 14,143.09.

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