Nikkei rises as Ukraine tension ebbs, Japan Display falls short of offer price
* Real estate shares outperform on rising land prices * Volume low as investors focused on FOMC By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average rose on Wednesday morning after comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin soothed anxiety about tensions over Ukraine, and realtors led the gains on news land prices in Japan's largest cities rose for the first time in six years. Also in focus was Japan Display Inc, the world's largest maker of smartphone screens, which fell 15 percent from the offer price in its market debut on Wednesday. It was the most-traded stock by turnover. The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 14,471.84 in mid-morning trade, moving further away from a six-week low of 14,203.21 hit on Monday. The real estate sector was the top gainer on the board, rising 1.4 percent after the land ministry said on Tuesday that land prices in Japan's largest cities rose for the first time in six years in 2013. Mitsui Fudosan Co rose 1.0 percent and Mitsubishi Estate Co gained 1.9 percent. Traders said that investor risk appetite has come back after tensions over Ukraine abated, but investors may not take large bets ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting. "Investors turned their attention back to the U.S. economy," said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. "They are carefully monitoring the Fed's meeting, so overall volume may stay low. Much of the trade will be focused on certain shares, certain sectors, today." In an address to the Russian parliament, Putin said Russia did not want Ukraine to be divided further, and that he did not want to seize more of the country after approving plans to make Crimea part of Russia following a referendum, which has been condemned by Western powers as invalid. Japan Display opened at 769 yen compared with its offer price of 900 yen. It last traded at 750 yen. "Some foreign investors had been bullish about the IPO, but the majority of foreigners were thinking that the offer price was too expensive," said a chief portfolio manager at a local asset management firm. "Some of them are blaming Hitachi Maxell's disappointing IPO yesterday." Shares in Hitachi Maxell Ltd opened at 1,971 yen in their trading debut on Tuesday, 4.8 percent lower than the offering price of 2,070 yen. The stock slid 13.5 percent. The broader Topix index rose 0.2 percent to 1,167.94 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400, a gauge comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, added 0.3 percent.
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