Nikkei choppy, market awaits ECB, U.S. jobs data; Sapporo dives

miércoles 4 de junio de 2014 22:20 GYT
 

* Sapporo dives as it may have to pay additional liquor
taxes
    * BoFA Merrill expects Topix to trade at 1,500 in mid-2015

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were choppy on
Thursday, pulling away from a brief foray to a two-month high in
early trade, with investors taking a breather from recent sharp
gains ahead of key events, including a U.S. jobs report on
Friday.
    The Nikkei was flat at 15,065.87 in mid-morning
trade after rising to a high of 15,141.14, the best mark since
April 3.
    The benchmark has risen nearly 7 percent in the past two and
half weeks, supported by improving manufacturing data in China
and an extended rally in U.S. stocks thanks to optimistic signs
for the world's biggest economy.
    Early Thursday, however, investors were greeted by a weak
services sector survey in China. HSBC/Markit's measure of the
China service sector fell to 50.7 in May from April's 51.4, but 
still held above the 50-point level that separates growth from
contraction. 
    "Investors' risk appetites have risen, but after the sharp
gains in a short period of time, they want to look for more
positive cues to chase the market higher," said Takuya
Takahashi, an analyst at Daiwa Securities.
    Analysts said traders were probably unwilling to make big
bets ahead of the European Central Bank policy meeting later on 
Thursday and the U.S. government's May nonfarm payrolls report
on Friday.
    Exporters were higher on the back the weak yen trend. Toyota
Motor Corp gained 0.4 percent, Tokyo Electron Ltd
 added 0.7 percent and Panasonic Corp advanced
0.4 percent.
    The dollar traded at 102.70 yen, having gained more
than 1 percent since Friday.
    But beermaker Sapporo Holdings Ltd tumbled 7.0
percent after saying that it may have to pay an additional 11.6
billion yen ($113 million) in liquor taxes. 
    Market observers expect the Japanese market to book further
gains over the long run supported by growth in companies'
earnings.
    Bank Of America Merrill Lynch expects the Topix to reach
1,500 in mid-2015.
    In a report to clients, Naoki Kamiyama, head of Japan equity
strategy, said the benchmark will likely rise in the July-
August months, as Japanese companies are expected to get past
the negative impact of the consumption tax hike as domestic
demand improves.
    Tokyo increased the national sales tax to 8 percent from 5
percent on April 1.
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,233.83, while the
new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 11,249.56.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)