CORRECTED-Nikkei choppy as market eyes Ukraine, Jackson Hole; Chugai jumps

lunes 18 de agosto de 2014 02:20 GYT

(Corrects Topix in last paragraph to 1,270.35 from 15,332.46)
    * Chugai up 21 pct after remaining unopened for more than an
    * Investors focused on when Fed will hike interest rates -
    * Shippers outperform on rising freight charges

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei was choppy on
Monday morning as geopolitical tensions checked risk appetite,
but Chugai Pharmaceutical jumped on a media report that
Roche Holding AG's may be close to sealing a deal to
gain full ownership of the Japanese drugmaker.
    Chugai Pharmaceutical Co soared 21 percent to a record high
as Bloomberg News last Friday reported that Roche is in talks to
buy the almost 40 percent stake in the Japanese company that it
does not already own for about $10 billion. 
    Chugai denied the report over the weekend. 
    The Nikkei was flat at 15,319.23 in a volatile
mid-morning session after booking a 3.7 percent gain last week,
the biggest weekly rise since mid-April.
    The Nikkei has lost almost 3 percent from a six-month high
of 15,759.66 posted 2-1/2 weeks ago.
    Investors were cautious as the four-month conflict in
Ukraine reached a critical phase over the weekend - Kiev and
Western governments are nervously watching if Russia will
intervene in support of the increasingly besieged rebels in
eastern Ukraine. 
    Global markets are also closely focused on this week's 
annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson
Hole, Wyoming. 
    "We are not expecting a surprise to come out, but since top
policymakers are gathering, we can expect some clues about the
U.S. economy," said Takatoshi Itoshima, chief portfolio manager
at Commons Asset Management.  
    He said investors have been watching closely for signs of
when the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates.  
The spotlight will be on Janet Yellen, who will speak on Friday
in her first appearance at Jackson Hole as Fed chair.
    Shippers outperformed after the Baltic Exchange's main sea
freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry
bulk commodities, rose on Friday thanks to higher rates for
bigger vessels. Mitsui OSK Lines gained 0.5 percent and
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha soared 2.2 percent.
    Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp 
falling 0.4 percent, Panasonic Corp adding 0.3 percent
and Honda Motor Co shedding 0.1 percent. 
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,270.35, and the new
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also flat at 11,562.40.

 (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)