REFILE-Japan business mood unchanged -tankan

Sun Apr 1, 2012 8:25pm EDT

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TOKYO, April 2 (Reuters) - Big Japanese manufacturers' sentiment was unchanged in the first quarter from the quarter before, a closely watched Bank of Japan survey showed, in a sign they remain worried about the yen's strength and global economic slowdown.

The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment was minus 4 in March, unchanged from December and lower than the median market forecast for minus 1, the closely watched quarterly tankan survey showed on Monday.

Big manufacturers expect conditions to improve slightly over the next three months, with the index for June seen at minus 3, compared with a median forecast of plus 2.

The survey also showed big firms plan to keep their capital spending unchanged in the financial year that started on April 1, compared to a median forecast for a 1.0 percent increase, the survey showed.

The sentiment indexes are derived by subtracting the percentage of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A negative reading means pessimists outnumbered optimists.

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