Nikkei steady near 7-month highs as market awaits BOJ outcome
* Some exporters pull back after recent gains * Economic growth cut could spur easing hopes - traders * Taiko Pharma soars on hopes it may have a solution to contain a dengue outbreak By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were steady on Thursday morning, hovering around a seven-month high as most investors kept to the sidelines ahead of the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting. The Nikkei share average was flat at 15,732.76 in mid-morning trade after opening lower. On Wednesday, it hit 15,829.38, the highest since January after a proponent of pension fund reform was named health and labor minister overseeing Japan's giant Government Pension Investment Fund. The BOJ is expected to maintain its massive monetary stimulus and cling to its argument that the bigger-than-expected hit from a sales tax rise will prove temporary. "The market is carefully awaiting Kuroda's speech," said Kenji Shiomura, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. "If the BOJ cuts the economic growth projection, it may draw expectations for easing in the stock market." BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda is scheduled to hold a briefing at 0630 GMT. The central bank is expected to cut its economic growth projection for the current fiscal year when it reviews its long-term forecasts in October, but it is likely to keep its bullish price forecasts. The dollar lost a bit of ground against the yen, slipping to 104.84 from an 8-month high of 105.31, investors to scale back their exposure to some exporters. Advantest Corp dropped 0.7 percent, Sony Corp shed 0.5 percent and Panasonic Corp fell 0.3 percent. On the winners' ledger, Taiko Pharmaceutical Co jumped 8.6 percent after the Asahi Shimbun reported that the drugmaker received a patent that may be effective in repelling mosquitoes in the wake of Japan's first domestic dengue infection cases since 1945. The broader Topix dropped 0.1 percent to 1,300.48, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 11,803.35. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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