Nikkei flat as investors await Japan GDP data; Takata gains

miércoles 12 de noviembre de 2014 21:53 GYT

* Investors take a breather from outsized gains in previous
two sessions
    * Third quarter GDP figures due Monday in focus
    * Takata rises on air bag chemical modification announcement

    By Thomas Wilson
    TOKYO, Nov 13(Reuters) - Japanese stocks were little changed
on Thursday, holding near 7-year highs as investors took a pause
from intense buying and Wall Street slipped from record highs.
    The Nikkei benchmark was up 0.1 percent at 17,208.99
points at 0132 GMT.    
    After big gains in the previous two sessions on expectations
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to delay a second rise in
the sales tax in an attempt to keep Japan's sluggish economy
recovery on track, investors stepped back to assess the wider
economic picture.  
    "I think the mood in the market is that now we just have to
wait until Nov 17," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at
Mizuho Securities, referring to Monday's release of
third-quarter GDP figures, which could influence Abe's decision.
    Japan's economy likely expanded in the July-September
period, after a sales tax hike in April sent the economy into
its biggest slump since the global financial crisis in the
second quarter. But the rebound is likely to be far more muted
than policymakers had hoped for. 
    Amid growing concern over its likely negative impact on
domestic consumption, Japanese firms overwhelmingly support a
delay to the second tax increase, slated for next October. A
Reuters survey found that almost three quarters of firms think
the economy is too weak to bear the increase. [ID: nL3N0T06QV].
    Investors did receive a welcome boost from
better-than-expected data on machinery orders. The figures
suggested that firms are gradually increasing capital
investment, widely seen as significant in securing a durable
recovery. [ID: nL3N0T289Y]
    "It does show that Japan's firms are using money, which is
positive," said Masayuki Otani, chief market analayst at
Securities Japan, Inc.
    Market heavyweight Softbank advanced 2.1 percent,
boosted by expectations of a delay to the sales tax hike.
    Outperforming the market was Takata Corp, which
soared 6.7 percent as the troubled air bag maker said it had
modified the composition of an propellant containing a volatile
chemical that's been at the centre of a recall of millions of
cars worldwide. 
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,376.61, while the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was down 0.1 percent at
    Also in focus was data on the Chinese economy due at 0530
GMT which is expected to show a further slowdown in the world's
second-largest economy..       

 (Additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Kim Coghill)