TOKYO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks dipped in subdued trade on Friday morning as investors awaited a decision from the Bank of Japan on whether it will expand its massive stimulus programme.
The BOJ is expected to hold monetary policy steady even while diluting its rosy inflation forecasts, sources say, clinging to the hope that a tightening job market will underpin consumption and help the economy emerge from a soft patch.
The Nikkei share average slipped 0.2 percent to end the morning session at 18,907.60 points.
“There’s a huge amount of anticipation evident in our flow this morning as people wait on the Bank of Japan,” said Stefan Worrall, cash equities manager at Credit Suisse.
“And what I mean by that is there’s practically no flow at all.”
Some traders said hopes that China’s economic slowdown was bottoming out have done little to dampen expectations that the BOJ might introduce further stimulus after Friday’s meeting.
While most investors waited on the sidelines, trading was driven by domestic corporate earnings announcements.
The Topix subindex for iron and steel shed 1.1 percent after Japan’s two biggest steel producers slashed guidance and production estimates after the market closed on Thursday.
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal shares fell 1.8 percent after it lowered its profit forecast for the year through March 2016 and cut its production target for the October-March period.
Rival JFE Holdings slipped 0.4 percent after cutting its guidance and production forecast as well. Both companies said that falling prices and a glut of Chinese steel contributed to the revisions.
Nomura Real Estate climbed 7.8 percent after reporting strong earnings on Thursday afternoon. Shionogi & Co soared 11.6 percent on its earnings, helping to lift the pharmaceutical sector by 1.9 percent.
The precision instruments sector added 1.4 percent, extending Thursday’s gain of 3.1 percent. Hoya Corp continued to lead the sector, gaining 3.9 percent two days after announcing a rise in quarterly profits and plans to repurchase 14 million of its own shares.
The broader Topix edged down 0.1 percent to 1,545.84 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 13,890.05. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Kim Coghill)