Nikkei flat as investors avoid risk on Gaza worries

Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:03pm EDT

* Ukraine tension eases but Gaza worries keep investors risk
averse - analysts
    * FamilyMart falls after saying it stopped sales of expired
chicken products

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, July 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
flat on Wednesday morning as investors avoided risk due to
geopolitical concerns in the Gaza Strip, which offset upbeat
sentiment from gains in U.S. and European markets overnight.
    The Nikkei was at 15,344.05 in midmorning trade
after rising 0.8 percent to 15,343.28 on Tuesday.
    Market analysts said worries about fallout from the Ukraine
conflict had eased after pro-Russian rebels agreed to hand over
the black boxes from the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down last
week near the Ukraine-Russia border.
    The Malaysian government also negotiated the release of the
remains of nearly 300 victims.  
    The market is now focused on the Middle East as Israel
pounded targets across the Gaza Strip. 
    "We remain worried about Gaza. With a lack of positive
catalysts in the market, such bad news can dominate the mood,"
said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa
Securities. 
    "We cannot underestimate the impact from turmoil in Gaza
because it's linked to oil prices and other commodity prices in
the mid-term."
    On Wednesday, bellwether exporters were mixed, with Toyota
Motor Corp rising 0.3 percent, Honda Motor Co 
shedding 0.9 percent and Sony Corp gaining 1.0 percent.
    The dollar shed 0.06 percent to trade at 101.39 yen. 
    FamilyMart Co fell 1.5 percent after the
convenience store operator said it had stopped sales of chicken
products imported from a Shanghai supplier accused of selling
outdated chicken meat.
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,273.57, while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also flat at 11,593.11.
    

 (Editing by Stephen Coates)
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