Nikkei flat as market awaits more cues; growth strategy in focus
* Nikkei flat, Topix down 0.2 pct in choppy trade * Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's growth strategy in focus * U.S. jobs data widely focused on this Friday - analyst By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was flat on Wednesday morning in choppy trade as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of key events this week, while losses were limited with the dollar's rebound above 100 yen supporting sentiment. The Nikkei was flat at 13,530.59 in mid-morning trade, while the index was in and out of negative territory after opening slightly higher. On Wednesday, investors are focused on a speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where he is set to unveil the government's 'third pillar', or growth strategy, to revive the economy. Analysts said that with the dollar regaining its foothold above 100-yen, investors continue to unwind their sell-positions in Japanese equities. The dollar, which has been hit recently by uncertainty over U.S. stimulus, last traded at 100.35. But at the same time, market participants say that investors are shying away from taking positions before the release of U.S. jobs data this Friday, thus the market is likely to remain directionless. "Since there has been volatility in daily trade, it's difficult to take a position. The market is still focused on developments over the U.S. Fed's stimulus, and the key indicator is jobs data, so they may stay nervous until then," said Masaru Hamasaki, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management. Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp shedding 0.3 percent, Honda Motor Co rising 0.3 percent, while Sony Corp fell 1.7 percent. The Topix dropped 0.2 percent to 1,123.55. The Japanese market has had a torrid period recently, dropping about 15 percent since reaching 5-1/2-year highs on May 23 as slowing growth in China and worries the U.S. Federal Reserve will scale back stimulus this year triggered broad-based selling and extreme volatility. Real estate stocks, which became a target of selling during the recent correction, attracted buying on short-covering, with Mitsui Fudosan Co rising 1.8 percent and Sumitomo Realty & Development Co gaining 2.6 percent. Despite the recent correction, the Nikkei is still up more than 30 percent this year on the back of Abe's reflationary policy and the central bank's sweeping monetary easing. Some traders expect the market to have another push higher later in the day, especially if Abe's growth strategy meets expectations. "If he (Abe) announces what the market is expecting, such as relaxing financial regulations or reducing corporate taxes, investors may chase the market higher," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
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