Nikkei flat in light trade as investors turn defensive
By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO Nov 12 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were flat in light, choppy trade on Thursday morning as investors bought defensive domestic shares while data showed corporate capital expenditure may be rising after months of government pressure on companies.
The Nikkei share average ended the morning session at 19,697.04. Through Wednesday, the benchmark index had a six-day streak of gains.
"We've had a decent run and a lot of the panic we've seen in the markets has subsided because things are looking so strong in the U.S.," said Nicholas Smith, a strategist at CLSA.
"Today looks like a fairly defensive day, with domestics like retail and pharmaceutical taking the lead."
Data released before the market opened showed Japan's core machinery orders increased for the first time in four months, rising 7.5 percent in September to beat the median forecast of 3.3 percent in a Reuters poll.
A weak forecast for machinery orders in the October-December period pushed Japan's machinery stocks lower.
Okuma Corp fell 5.4 percent during the morning session while Makino Milling Machine Co tumbled 6.3 percent and Mori Co slipped 3.8 percent. The Topix subindex for machinery remained up by 0.3 percent.
Paper and pulp shares added 1 percent and the pharmaceutical sector edged up 0.7 percent as investors bought defensive domestic shares.
Ulvac Inc jumped 17.2 percent after raising its full-year earnings outlook. Resona Holdings Inc plunged 6.5 percent after it reported a dive in net profit during the half ended in September.
The broader Topix was flat at 1,594.89 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 14,369.06. (Editing by Richard Borsuk)
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