Nikkei flat as China GDP awaited; Wall Street weakness weighs

Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:48pm EDT

* Yellen's comment on some sectors' valuations legitimate -
analyst
    * JX Holdings rises on report saying it will build hydrogen
stations

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
flat on Wednesday morning as investors stayed cautious ahead of
China economic data, with weakness in U.S. shares also curbing
investors' risk appetites.
    The Nikkei was little changed at 15,388.78 points in
mid-morning trade after opening a tad lower. On Tuesday, it rose
0.6 percent to 15,395.16, the highest closing level since July
4.
    Investors will focus on China's second-quarter gross
domestic product, June retail sales and June industrial output
at 0200 GMT, looking for signs of whether the economy is showing
signs of steadying after a flurry of government stimulus.
    A recovery in growth momentum could boost Chinese demand for
goods and commodities from the rest of Asia. Exports have been a
weak point for the Japanese economy this year.
    In the U.S., momentum shares dropped after Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow Fed policymakers raised
concerns about high valuations in those sectors.
    "Everyone knew these shares' valuations were too expensive
as they drove the U.S. market higher last year. Investors
reacted to Yellen's comments, but what she said makes sense,"
said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global equities at BNP Paribas.
    "It's good that she tries to point out fair value of risky
assets before interest rates go up."
    In the monetary policy report accompanying her congressional
testimony, Yellen said that "equity valuations of smaller firms
as well as social media and biotechnology firms appear to be
stretched." 
    Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp up 0.6
percent and Honda Motor Co 0.6 percent, while Panasonic
Corp fell 0.5 percent.
    Bucking the trend, JX Holdings gained 1.5 percent
after the Nikkei business daily reported that JX Nippon Oil &
Energy plans to set up 100 Japanese hydrogen stations by fiscal
2018 in an effort to develop the infrastructure needed for the
adoption of fuel cell vehicles.
    The broader Topix rose 0.2 percent and the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to
11,614.24.

 (Editing by Kim Coghill)