Nikkei flat as earnings, central bank meetings cap risk appetite
* Market focused on central banks' policy meetings * Canon, Fanuc among companies reporting earnings Mon * Volume may stay low before Golden Week holidays - analysts By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, April 27 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks were flat in a choppy Monday morning as investors were cautious amid the earnings season and ahead of some key events later this week, including central bank meetings in Japan and the United States. The Bank of Japan is expected to hold off on expanding monetary policy stimulus at its policy meeting on Thursday. Meanwhile, disappointing U.S. economic data on Friday cemented the view that the Federal Reserve will resist signaling any imminent tightening in rates when it delivers its policy statement on Wednesday. The Nikkei share average was flat at 20,027.80 in mid-morning trade after moving in and out of positive territory. The benchmark index has rallied 15 percent this year, and rose 1.9 percent last week, but buyers are expected to pause for the moment, analysts said. Trading volume may remain low due to Japan's Golden Week holidays starting later this week, they said. "The Nikkei will likely stay directionless this week," said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities. "A short-term correction is also possible." Moreover, risk appetite is being curbed by companies forecasting conservative outlooks for this fiscal year ending March, he said. Mazda Motor Corp fell 2.9 percent after its operating profit forecast for the year through March 2016 was below the market consensus. Mitsubishi Motors Corp tumbled 5.1 percent after saying it expects an 8 percent drop in its operating profit for this fiscal year. The banking sector also fell 0.4 percent, snapping a four-week winning streak on profit-taking. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group <8306.T. dropped 0.8 percent and Mizuho Financial Group shed 0.2 percent. Companies reporting earnings after the market close include Canon Inc, Komatsu Ltd and Funuc Corp . The broader Topix gained 0.1 percent to 1,620.52 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to 14,699.48. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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