Nikkei flat as China GDP awaited; Wall Street weakness weighs
* Yellen's comment on some sectors' valuations legitimate - analyst * JX Holdings rises on report saying it will build hydrogen stations By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was flat on Wednesday morning as investors stayed cautious ahead of China economic data, with weakness in U.S. shares also curbing investors' risk appetites. The Nikkei was little changed at 15,388.78 points in mid-morning trade after opening a tad lower. On Tuesday, it rose 0.6 percent to 15,395.16, the highest closing level since July 4. Investors will focus on China's second-quarter gross domestic product, June retail sales and June industrial output at 0200 GMT, looking for signs of whether the economy is showing signs of steadying after a flurry of government stimulus. A recovery in growth momentum could boost Chinese demand for goods and commodities from the rest of Asia. Exports have been a weak point for the Japanese economy this year. In the U.S., momentum shares dropped after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her fellow Fed policymakers raised concerns about high valuations in those sectors. "Everyone knew these shares' valuations were too expensive as they drove the U.S. market higher last year. Investors reacted to Yellen's comments, but what she said makes sense," said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global equities at BNP Paribas. "It's good that she tries to point out fair value of risky assets before interest rates go up." In the monetary policy report accompanying her congressional testimony, Yellen said that "equity valuations of smaller firms as well as social media and biotechnology firms appear to be stretched." Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp up 0.6 percent and Honda Motor Co 0.6 percent, while Panasonic Corp fell 0.5 percent. Bucking the trend, JX Holdings gained 1.5 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that JX Nippon Oil & Energy plans to set up 100 Japanese hydrogen stations by fiscal 2018 in an effort to develop the infrastructure needed for the adoption of fuel cell vehicles. The broader Topix rose 0.2 percent and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to 11,614.24. (Editing by Kim Coghill)
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