* Nikkei traverses negative and positive territory
* Toshiba tumbles as bourse keeps stock on watchlist
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Dec 20 Japan's Nikkei share average was
flat in choppy trade on Tuesday morning as the market awaited
the Bank Of Japan's policy decision and the safe-haven yen
paused its recent weak trend.
The Nikkei was flat at 19,388.28 in midmorning trade
after traversing positive and negative territory.
The central bank's two-day policy meeting will end on
Tuesday, at which it is expected to stand pat on its 10-year
government bond yield target as the weaker yen helps Japan's
economic prospects, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.
Analysts said that the market was focused on BOJ Governor
Haruhiko Kuroda's speech after the meeting.
"We want to know what the BOJ will say about the policy
framework it announced in September, and we are also focused on
any signs on if and when tightening will come into sight," said
Hiroaki Mino, director at investment information department at
Interest rate hikes are back on the radar at the BOJ, for
the first time in a decade, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's
tightening cycle pushes global bond yields higher.
Traders also said that trading volume is expected to be low
again, as foreign investors head off on Christmas holidays this
week. On Monday, both trading volume and turnover were the
lowest since Nov. 8.
Exporters took a hit after the dollar fell to as low as
116.55 yen on Monday after two separate deadly attacks in
Turkey and Germany raised concerns about security in Europe.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed as he
gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery by an off-duty police
officer. And in Berlin, a truck ploughed into a crowded
Christmas market, killing nine people.
The dollar fell more than two yen from a 10-1/2-month high
of 118.66 touched on Dec 15.
Toyota Motor Corp shed 0.5 percent, Honda Motor Co
dropped 0.6 percent and Panasonic Corp fell
Toshiba Corp tumbled more than 5 percent after the
Tokyo Stock Exchange said on Monday it will keep shares of
Toshiba Corp as "securities on alert",
Domestic-demand sensitive shares outperformed, with the land
transport subsector rising 0.8 percent and the real
estate subsector gaining 0.4 percent.
East Japan Railway Co added 1.4 percent, West Japan
Railway Co rose 1.0 percent and Mitsui Fudosan Co
gained 1.0 percent.
The broader Topix fell 0.2 percent to 1,545.95 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.2 percent to
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)