Nikkei slips before Fed rate call; Apple suppliers hit by iPhone sales forecast

* Apple suppliers slip on Morgan Stanley iPhone sales outlook

* Toshiba rises on restructuring hopes

TOKYO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average fell in choppy trade on Tuesday morning with investors skittish in the face of volatile oil prices and the Fed’s momentous interest rate hike decision expected this week.

Apple Inc’s component suppliers slid after Morgan Stanley forecast a drop in iPhone sales in the next fiscal year. TDK Corp tumbled 3.9 percent, Murata Manufacturing Co dropped 2.3 percent and Nitto Denko Corp fell 2.8 percent.

The Nikkei dropped 0.8 percent to 18,737.27 in midmorning trade after briefly flirting with positive territory.

While investors widely expect the Fed to announce its first rate hike in nearly a decade on Wednesday, they are also waiting for commentary from policymakers about what will happen next.

“Investors remain jittery before the event, but after some correction, the market will likely provide bargain hunting opportunities,” said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities. “A U.S. hike signals a U.S. economic recovery, and it is generally positive to the Japanese market.”

Selling on global cyclical stocks such as exporters reflected investors’ sour risk stance on Tuesday. Toyota Motor Corp shed 0.7 percent, Nissan Motor Co dropped 1.2 percent and Panasonic Corp fell 1.1 percent.

Financials were also lower, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropping 1.9 percent, Mizuho Financial Group sliding 1.7 percent and Nomura Holdings declining 0.7 percent.

Toshiba Corp outperformed, rising 1.0 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that it plans to cut up to 7,000 jobs to streamline operations in the wake of an accounting scandal. Responding to the report, the company said it is considering various restructuring options, but nothing has been decided.

The broader Topix dropped 0.7 percent to 1,516.96 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.8 percent to 13,641.04. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)