Nikkei flat as market awaits Fed clues; Nintendo set to surge on gaming move

* Nintendo, DeNA untraded with buy orders after tie-up news * Nintendo-related shares soar on new console hopes * FOMC result unlikely to have major long-term impact to Japan market By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 18 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average was little changed on Wednesday, with investors reluctant to make bets before the Federal Reserve’s policy decision later in the day, while Nintendo Co was flooded with buy orders after it said it will enter the smartphone gaming industry.

The Nikkei was flat at 19,434.63 points by late morning after traversing positive and negative territory. It had hit a fresh 15-year high of 19,479.89 the previous day.

Nintendo shares were untraded at 0220 GMT, but looked set to rise by its daily limit of 21 percent to 17,080 yen as the stock was flooded with buy orders after it and DeNA Co said they will jointly develop game applications.

CLSA raised Nintendo’s rating to ‘outperform’ from ‘sell.’ “We regard the alliance as Nintendo’s first steps toward its eventual withdrawal from the dedicated game machine business,” CLSA wrote in a report.

DeNA also remained untraded amid a surge in buy orders, and looked set to rise 21 percent to its daily limit of 1,707 yen.

Analysts said that investors will likely stay on the sidelines for the time being while they awaited for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy statement later in the day for more clues on when it will raise interest rates.

Investors are most interested in whether it will remove the word “patient” from its remarks on raising rates.

“People don’t want to make large bets now. But at the same time, in any case, the outcome should not have a serious long-term impact to the Japanese market,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“The Japanese market has gained mostly on expectations of its economic recovery and buying by pension funds.” He also said that Japanese stocks are seen attractive, trading at a price earnings ratio of 15 times compared to 19 times for the S&P.

“I had expected that the Nikkei will hit 20,000 after full-year earnings releases in May, but it may breach the level even before that on expectations for strong earnings,” Takahashi said.

Nintendo-related stocks outperformed as the company also said it is developing new game console “NX”.

Mitsumi Electric soared 11 percent, Hosiden jumped 9.3 percent and Ubiquitous surged 16 percent.

Bank of Kyoto, Nintendo’s second-biggest shareholder, jumped as high as 19 percent.

The broader Topix gained 0.2 percent to 1,573.84 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.1 percent to 14,310.95.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)

Nikkei Futures

nikkeifutures.org@imediaone.com

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