Asian stocks fell for a second day, led by materials and consumer companies, as signs of declining profit countered optimism that US stimulus measures will ease the financial crisis.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dipped 23.09, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 7,945.94 in Tokyo, after switching between gains and losses 15 times. The Topix index fell 0.80, or 0.1 per cent, to 778.10, with 18 of its 33 industry groups slumping.
Orix joined Japan's biggest banks, including market leader Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, in reducing earnings projections on share losses. Orix sank 8.9 per cent to 3,180 yen, while Japan Steel Works slid 7.5 per cent to 887 yen after cutting its profit projection by a fifth. Orix and Japan Steel were the second and third- biggest losers on the MSCI World Index, after Kobe Steel.
Kobe Steel plunged 13 per cent to 117 yen, its sharpest drop since September 1998, leading steelmakers to the biggest decline among Topix groups.
Nissan, Japan's No 3 carmaker, surged 7.3 per cent to 280 yen after the company said it would cut 20,000 jobs in an effort to return to profit. The carmaker will slash labour costs in high-wage countries by 20 per cent after forecasting its first loss in nine years.
Kyushu Electric Power gained 1.1 per cent to 2,260 yen, on speculation fuel costs will drop after oil traded near a three-week low. Tohoku Electric Power added 1.2 per cent to 2,195 yen.
Nomura Holdings rebounded 3.9 per cent to 509 yen. Daiwa Securities Group, Japan's No 2 brokerage, rose 3.2 per cent to 447 yen.
About five stocks fell for every four that rose on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index, which lost 0.2 per cent to 83.09 in Tokyo. The gauge has fallen 7.2 per cent this year, extending 2008's record 43 per cent decline as the world's biggest economies sank into recession.