Oct 7 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell in light trade on Wednesday as investors waited to see whether a Bank of Japan policy meeting would result in further stimulus.
The Nikkei share average edged down 0.2 percent to end the morning session at 18,155.58points.
The BOJ is widely expected to keep its massive stimulus programme unchanged in a decision expected by midday, but investors will be closely listening to comments from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at an afternoon news conference (0630 GMT) for possible clues on future policy direction.
Some are betting on easing at a meeting late in the month, while others do not expect more stimulus until next year. A recent spate of weak data has fanned fears that the economy may have slipped back into recession in the summer.
“Most people have made their bets on what they think the BOJ will do so they’re spending the morning waiting to see what happens,” said Nicholas Smith, a strategist at CLSA.
“Anyone who needs to make adjustments will do so after lunch.”
Japan’s air transport sector slipped on an overnight rise in crude prices that put downward pressure on airlines’ shares, causing the sector to shed 3.3 percent in morning trade.
ANA Holdings fell 3.3 percent and Japan Airlines lost 3.4 percent.
The Topix subindex for retail edged down 0.7 percent as investors took profits on the sector, which has outperformed this year, market participants said.
Murata Manufacturing Co shares fell 4.1 percent after Mizuho Securities cut its stock’s rating to ‘underperform’ from ‘neutral’ based on an anticipated slowdown in the smartphone market starting in late 2015.
J Front Retailing shares gained 1.1 percent after raising its earnings forecast thanks to rising inbound tourism demand at its department stores and shopping centres.
The broader Topix gained 0.3 percent to 1,479.74 with 11 of its 33 sub indexes in negative territory.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 rose 0.2 percent to end the morning session at 13,250.59.
Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Kim Coghill