Nikkei snaps 5-day winning streak as market awaits Fed

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Nikkei snaps 5-day winning streak as market awaits Fed
Credit: © Reuters.

* Non-life insurers underperform on worries about falling premiums

* NTT climbs on share buyback plan

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average fell on Tuesday in choppy trade, snapping a five-day winning streak as investors waited for a U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting to start later in the day.

The Nikkei .N225 dropped 0.1 percent to 19,134.73 in mid-morning trade, after briefly touching positive territory when the dollar rose above 115.20 yen JPY= .

The benchmark index had risen for five straight days until Monday, supported by a strong performance on Wall Street and a weaker yen.

The Fed is widely expected to hike interest rates for the first time in 2016 at its two-day meeting, with markets pricing in a nearly 100 percent chance of a quarter percentage point increase to the Fed's target range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

"The market has already priced in a rate hike and some are ready to take profits after confirming the result," said Masashi Oda, general manager of strategic investment department at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

He added that after the Nikkei has risen sharply since the U.S. presidential election last month, the market needs fresh catalysts to rise further.

The insurance sector .IINSU.T underperformed, down 1.3 percent, and was the second worst performer on the board after the Nikkei newspaper reported that a reference rate that helps determine premiums for optional auto insurance in Japan could decrease by as much as 10 percent in 2018. Marine Holdings 8766.T dropped 2.1 percent and MS&AD Insurance 8725.T slipped 0.7 percent.

Exporters were mixed, with Honda Motor Co 7267.T shedding 0.5 percent, Nissan Motor Co 7201.T adding 0.2 percent and Panasonic Corp 6752.T dropping 0.3 percent.

Outperforming the market was Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp 9432.T , surging 3.5 percent, after the company said it would buy back up to 1.62 pct of own shares worth 150 billion yen ($1.30 billion).

The broader Topix .TOPX was flat at 1,531.34 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 .JPXNK400 was also steady at 13,708.36.

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