* Market awaits Chinese figures later in the day
* Apple suppliers underperform after brokerage says component orders cut
* Construction stocks higher on strong earnings
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average was nearly flat on Wednesday morning in directionless trade as investors stayed on the sidelines after signs that the market was overbought.
Investors remained cautious before the release of Chinese retail sales, industrial production, and urban investment data later in the day.
Apple Inc suppliers underperformed the market after Credit Suisse said the iPhone maker had reduced its component orders by as much as 10 percent.
The Nikkei average was flat at 19,674.16 in midmorning trade after closing at a 1-1/2 month high the previous day.
The benchmark has risen nearly 7 percent, or more than 1,000 points, over the past three weeks since the European Central Bank signalled further stimulus measures to come in as early as December, while China cut rates.
On top of that, expectations for a near-term U.S. rate hike heightened after last week’s solid U.S. jobs data, pushing up the dollar against the yen.
“The conditions for a further stock price rises have been met,” said Masashi Oda, senior investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.
He said that although the Japanese market will likely stay resilient for the time being, investors are cautious about the very rapid rises in the market.
iPhone component makers weakened, with Alps Electric falling 1.7 percent, TDK Corp shedding 0.2 percent and Murata Manufacturing Co sliding 0.5 percent.
Construction stocks climbed on strong earnings. Kajima Corp and Obayashi Corp both gained soared 2.5 percent.
Exporters were lower, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.4 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 0.6 percent and Panasonic Corp shedding 2.3 percent.
The broader Topix added 0.1 percent to 1,590.59 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 edged up 0.1 percent to 14,328.92. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)