* Exporters ease, taking cues from yen moves * Gree up on report of U.S. expansion, upbeat broker note By Dominic Lau TOKYO, March 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was steady on Friday after hitting an eight-month closing high a day earlier, with exporters witnessing mild selling after their strong rally in the previous session. The yen's recovery from an 11-month low against the dollar prompted exporters to give back some of the previous day's gains, with Sony Corp down 0.5 percent, Honda Motor Co falling 0.6 percent and industrial robot maker Fanuc Ltd easing 0.3 percent. The yen was last traded at 83.42 to the dollar after weakening as far as 84.187 on the EBS trading platform on Thursday. The Nikkei eased 0.1 percent to 10,116.32 by the midday break, while the broader Topix added 0.1 percent to 864.55. Trading volume on the main board after the morning session was 55.8 percent of its full daily average for the past 90 days. "We need to take a breather here," a dealer at a foreign bank said. "Going into the end of the fiscal year, the index wants to kind of move up a bit but it feels like there is a need for domestic supply to come out. It's a little bit quiet ahead of the holiday on Tuesday." March is the final month of Japan's fiscal year and market participants have been expecting many funds to lock in profits from the benchmark's nearly 20 percent rally since the beginning of January, after shedding more than 13 percent from April to December. A sharp increase in funds raised by equity investment trusts launched in March has also added fuel to the Japanese market's rally. Nomura expected the total assets of these equity investment trusts to hit 88 billion yen ($1.05 billion) this month, the highest since February 2006. That compares with an average of 13 billion yen a month in 2011. Nomura expected the Nikkei would head towards 10,500 to 11,000 during April-May. Underscoring the upbeat outlook, the Nikkei volatility index , Japan's fear gauge, fell 6.6 percent. The lower the volatility index, the higher the risk appetite. SHIPS & STEEL Naomi Fink, Japan equity strategist at Jefferies Japan, expected the Nikkei to rise further although market momentum would slow. Fink favoured shippers and steelmakers, saying they were solid picks for a recovery cycle. Shippers and steelmakers carried a 12-month forward price-to-book ratio of 0.63 and 0.74 respectively, versus their 10-year average of 1.4 and 1.3, and cheaper than the 0.96 for the Topix, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed. The shippers' subindex rose 1.9 percent on Friday, although the iron & steel sector lost 0.6 percent. Topping the turnover chart was Gree Inc, up 4 percent after a media report that it would release its first social networking game designed for the global market in the United States. Gree also got a boost from a Citigroup report which said that fears of stricter regulation on social gaming operators similar to those on Japan's "pachinko", a pinball-like gambling game, were overdone. Short interest in Gree remained high, with 8.63 percent of outstanding shares on loan as of March 14 versus 8.49 percent on March 1, according to research firm Data Explorers.