Nikkei flat in choppy trade; investors pause after recent rally

martes 14 de abril de 2015 22:41 GYT

* Intel capital expenditure cut hits chip-related shares
    * Drugmakers fall on profit-taking
    * Obayashi gains after raising earnings outlook

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
flat on Wednesday as investors took profits on recent gainers
such as drugmakers, but expectations that companies will report
strong profits supported sentiment.
    Japanese shares have risen this year on expectations that
profits will be pushed up by a weak yen and that consumption
will be helped by a slump in oil prices and higher wages.
    Last week the Nikkei 225 traded above the
psychologically important 20,000 mark for the first time since
April 2000.
    But traders said that after the euphoria of reaching that
milestone, investors had paused to assess the trading
    The Nikkei was flat at 19,908.46 in mid-morning after
trading in negative territory earlier. It had ended flat on
    "Investors expect higher stocks in the long run, so they
don't want to sell," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager
at Ichiyoshi Asset Management. "But they also don't see
catalysts which can justify a level above 20,000 now."
    Akino said that the Nikkei was likely to stay directionless
for the time being.
    "Analysts expect Japan Inc to post an average 15 percent
rise in profits for the fiscal year through March 2016, but
companies' tradition of announcing conservative outlooks should
keep stocks down," he said.
    Japanese companies will start reporting full-year earnings
in May.
    On Wednesday, drugmakers ran into profit-taking, with
Shionogi & Co dropping 2.5 percent and Eisai Co
 shedding 1.1 percent after soaring 37 percent and 78
percent respectively this year.
    Chip-related stocks took a hit after Intel said it would cut
capital expenditure this year to $8.7 billion from $10 billion,
a reduction that analysts said should improve free cash flow.
    Tokyo Electron Ltd dropped 1.4 percent and
Advantest Corp fell 1.0 percent.
    Outperforming the market was contractor Obayashi Corp
, which rose 2.5 percent after it raised its earnings
outlook for the year to March 2015. 
    Data from China had little immediate impact. Its economy
grew 7.0 percent in the first quarter - as expected, but still
its slowest rate in six years. 
    The broader Topix was flat at 1,590.95 and the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.1 percent to 14,430.46.

 (Editing by Alan Raybould)