* Nikkei, Topix reverse losses on reported Amari's comments
* Market extremely sensitive before BOJ policy meeting -
* Sharp soars on plant sale to Lenovo
* Boeing 787 Dreamliner suppliers weak
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Jan 17 The Nikkei average recouped early
losses and closed marginally higher on Thursday after a media
report quoted Japan's economic minister as saying his remarks on
the yen earlier this week were misinterpreted, lifting
exporters' shares before the closing bell.
The Dow Jones Newswires quoted Economics Minister Akira
Amari as saying that it was regrettable his yen remark on
Tuesday was misinterpreted and the yen was "in correction phase"
when it was at 89.50 yen to the dollar that day.
The report also curbed the yen's rebound, weakening it to
trade at 88.71 yen to the dollar, reversing from 88.13 yen
Trading was choppy on Thursday as profit-taking and buying
seesawed the index back and forth into negative territory.
The Nikkei ended up 0.1 percent at 10,609.64
ppoints, after trading as low as 10,432.97.
The dollar fell for a third day versus the yen on Thursday
after Amari warned on Tuesday about the potential harm of
excessive yen weakness.
"The market is extremely sensitive to every word an official
makes on the yen, and there may be more such comments (by
officials) before the BOJ's policy meeting," said Shun Maruyama,
chief strategist at BNP Paribas.
Analysts said the Nikkei could trade in a wide range from
10,200-10,900 ahead of the Bank of Japan's next policy review on
Jan. 21-22, at which is expected to ease policy further.
Amari is likely to attend the BOJ's meeting, a government
source said on Wednesday.
The BOJ is under intense pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe, whose party surged to power in a lower house election in
December, to adopt a 2 percent inflation target, or double its
current target, and to pursue aggressive easing to beat
"Everyone is nervous at this point," said Norihiro Fujito,
senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley
Securities. "As some of the hopes for monetary easing have been
priced into the market, there may be a huge sell-off by hedge
funds if the BOJ does not live up to markets expectations."
Exporters were in demand, with Toyota Motor Corp
rising 1.3 percent, Honda Motor Co Ltd advancing 1.7
percent and Fanuc Corp adding 1.5 percent.
The Nikkei has rallied about 22.5 percent over the past two
months, driven by a softening in the yen after Abe pressured the
central bank to introduce aggressive policy easing.
Meanwhile, Sharp Corp soared 7.3 percent after
sources told Reuters that it may sell its Chinese TV assembly
plant to Lenovo Group as the cash-strapped Japanese TV
maker looks to sell assets to bolster its finances.
BOEING 787 DREAMLINER SUPPLIERS' SHARES TUMBLE
Amid Thursday's directionless trade, shares of Japanese
suppliers of Dreamliner stayed weak after Europe, Japan and
India on Thursday joined the United States in grounding Boeing
Co's 787, a day after a second incident involving battery
failure caused one of the Dreamliner passenger jets to make an
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on
Wednesday it would temporarily ground Boeing's newest commercial
airliner and insisted airlines would have to demonstrate the
lithium ion batteries were safe before they could resume flying.
It gave no details on when that might happen.
GS Yuasa Corp, which makes the batteries for the
Dreamliner, tumbled 5.0 percent, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd
, which makes the wings, dropped 0.2 percent to 471 yen,
and Toray Industries Inc, which supplies carbon fiber
used in the plane's composites, shed 2.0 percent.
Toho Titanium Co and Osaka Titanium Technologies Co
, which supply titanium for the aircraft's components,
declined 1.1 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.
The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to 890.46 in
active trade, with 3.93 billion shares changing hands.