Nikkei steady before U.S. payrolls; Toshiba gains on nuclear deal report

Wed Jul 2, 2014 10:02pm EDT

* Toshiba soars after Nikkei reports Westinghouse in talks
to win nuclear deal
    * U.S. jobs data eyed later Thursday

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, July 3 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were flat in a
choppy early session on Thursday as investors took time out
ahead of the U.S. jobs data later in the day, while Toshiba Corp
 soared on a report that its U.S. subsidiary is expected
to win a deal in Bulgaria.
    The Nikkei share average was steady at 15,365.95 in
mid-morning trade after earlier tracking in positive territory.
It gained 0.3 percent to 15,369.97 on the previous day, the
highest closing level since June 24.
    A recent batch of positive global economic data, including
from Japan, China and the United States, has helped spur Tokyo
and global equities.  
    Investors are now focused on U.S. payroll data after U.S.
private employers hired 281,000 workers in June, far exceeding
expectations for 200,000, data from payrolls processor ADP
showed. The number bodes well for the government payroll data
due before the market opens on Thursday. 
    "If the data shows that the U.S. economy is in good health,
Japanese shares in the auto and technology sector will likely be
bought," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa
Securities.
    Sato expects a strong payrolls report to boost Japanese
automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co
 and Fuji Heavy Industries, which have large
exposure in the U.S. market.
    On Thursday, exporters pulled back as investors booked 
profits after the Nikkei's rally in the past three sessions.
    Toyota shed 0.4 percent, Honda dropped 0.5 percent and Sony
Corp declined 1.3 percent.    
    Toshiba outperformed the market, rising 3.2 percent and was
the third most traded stock by turnover after the Nikkei
business daily reported that Westinghouse Electric, its U.S.
subsidiary, is in the final talks with Bulgarian Energy Holding
for a reactor. 
    The broader Topix shed 0.1 percent to 1,279.29, and
the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 slipped 0.1 percent to
11,627.14.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)