Nikkei steady near 7-month highs as market awaits BOJ outcome

Wed Sep 3, 2014 10:24pm EDT

* Some exporters pull back after recent gains
    * Economic growth cut could spur easing hopes - traders
    * Taiko Pharma soars on hopes it may have a solution to
contain a dengue outbreak

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were steady on
Thursday morning, hovering around  a seven-month high as most
investors kept to the sidelines ahead of the outcome of the Bank
of Japan's policy meeting.
    The Nikkei share average was flat at 15,732.76 in
mid-morning trade after opening lower. On Wednesday, it hit
15,829.38, the highest since January after a proponent of
pension fund reform was named health and labor minister
overseeing Japan's giant Government Pension Investment Fund.
 
    The BOJ is expected to maintain its massive monetary
stimulus and cling to its argument that the bigger-than-expected
hit from a sales tax rise will prove temporary. 
    "The market is carefully awaiting Kuroda's speech," said
Kenji Shiomura, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. "If the BOJ cuts
the economic growth projection, it may draw expectations for
easing in the stock market."
    BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda is scheduled to hold a briefing
at 0630 GMT.    
    The central bank is expected to cut its economic growth
projection for the current fiscal year when it reviews its
long-term forecasts in October, but it is likely to keep its
bullish price forecasts.
    The dollar lost a bit of ground against the yen, slipping to
104.84 from an 8-month high of 105.31, investors to scale
back their exposure to some exporters.
    Advantest Corp dropped 0.7 percent, Sony Corp
 shed 0.5 percent and Panasonic Corp fell 0.3
percent.
    On the winners' ledger, Taiko Pharmaceutical Co 
jumped 8.6 percent after the Asahi Shimbun reported that the
drugmaker received a patent that may be effective in repelling
mosquitoes in the wake of Japan's first domestic dengue
infection cases since 1945.    
    The broader Topix dropped 0.1 percent to 1,300.48,
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 11,803.35.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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