Nikkei flat as investors await Japan GDP data; Takata gains

miércoles 12 de noviembre de 2014 23:34 GYT

(Updates prices)
    * Investors take breather from outsized gains in previous
two sessions
    * Takata jumps on Reuters report of changes to air bags
    * Third quarter GDP figures due Monday in focus

    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 0.3 percent at 17,242.16
points at 0310 GMT, while the broader Topix was up 0.2
percent at 1,380.18.
    Takata Corp soared 5.9 percent after an official
told Reuters it had altered the recipe of an air bag propellant
that's been at the centre of a recall of millions of cars
    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 recovery on
track, investors paused 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
on the tax and the possibility of a snap election.
    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 boost from better-than-expected data
on machinery orders. The figures suggested that firms are
gradually increasing capital investment, 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 2.3 percent,
boosted by expectations of a delay to the sales tax hike.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.2 percent to
    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)