REFILE-Nikkei rises in choppy trade; eyes on G20 meeting
* Nikkei back and forth negative territory while eyes on G20 * Investors still upbeat on Japanese equities * Internet-related stocks popular but volatile - traders By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Friday morning in choppy trade after a downward trend in the yen helped offset negative sentiment on Wall Street, but investors were looking at a meeting of G-20 nations for firmer direction. The Nikkei share average gained 0.6 percent to 13,300.64 by the midday break, climbing above its 5-day moving average of 13,280.14 after moving back and forth negative territory. On Thursday, U.S. stocks were dragged down by disappointing forecasts by companies including eBay, while more soft data added to worries over the recovery in the world's largest economy. Still, investors remained upbeat about Japanese equities as the yen slipped against the dollar in a sign that investors expect little criticism of Japan's massive monetary easing campaign from the G20 meeting that began on Thursday. "Investors are watching if Kuroda's comments are approved by international peers," said Masaru Hamasaki, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management. Bank Of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said in Washington on Thursday that Japan's monetary easing was taken purely for domestic policy reasons, which is to achieve price stability and meet the country's 2 percent price target in two years and is not aimed at weakening the yen. "We've made that clear to markets and policymakers around the world. I think we've gained broad understanding on that point," Kuroda said. The dollar last traded at 98.55 yen, moving a tad closer to a four-year high of close to a 100 yen last week. "If all goes well with Japan not facing criticism of its aggressive monetary policy by its international partners, the yen may weaken further and large-cap stocks may be bought," said Yoshiyuki Kondo, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. "For the time being there is still uncertainty so it is difficult to buy large-cap stocks but small shares are being bought." INTERNET-RELATED STOCKS GAIN He said Internet-related shares such as CyberAgent Inc and Colopl Inc were popular with investors. Exporters were mixed. Toyota Motor Corp gained 0.4 percent while Honda Motor Co shed 0.5 percent. Sony Corp rose 1.0 percent and Komatsu Ltd added 2.0 percent. The Nikkei has gained over 50 percent since November when Shinzo Abe, who became prime minister in December, called for bold fiscal and monetary expansionary policies to revive the economy and end stubborn deflation. While institutional investors have taken a wait-and-see approach after the market's surge to a nearly five-year high last week, "retail investors are finding opportunities in stocks with extraordinary growth" such as gaming and Internet-related sectors, a Tokyo-based trader said. But at the same time, such gaming shares tend to be volatile due to retail investors' margin trade, traders said. Colopl was down 0.1 percent at the midday break after rising as much as 22 percent during early trade. The broader Topix gained 0.1 percent to 1,124.00. Analysts said investors have also started focusing on earnings-related news as Japanese companies begin releasing their full-year results next week. JX Holdings Inc shed 2.3 percent after the Nikkei newspaper said the petroleum refiner's net profit for the year ended March 31 appeared to have fallen below the company's forecast. Sharp Corp surged 3.9 percent after the Nikkei business daily said the consumer electronics maker would supply energy-saving, high-performance LCD panels for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's notebook computers as early as summer.
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