* To rise past 20,000, Nikkei needs to attract new money -
* Shares of Toyota Motor fall after disappointing profit
* Takeda Pharma soars on solid forecast
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, May 11 Japanese stocks were flat in
choppy trade on Thursday morning as optimism from the weakening
yen offset mixed performances in U.S. shares overnight, while
Toyota Motor declined after its forecast undershot analyst
The Nikkei share average rose 0.1 percent to
19,922.78 points in midmorning trade, while the broader Topix
fell 0.1 percent to 1,583.78 points.
Toyota Motor Corp fell nearly 2 percent, after the
automaker forecast operating profit to decline 20 percent on the
year to 1.6 trillion yen ($14.06 billion) for this fiscal year
The dollar was slightly up on the day at 114.31 yen
after earlier rising as high as 114.37, its highest since March
Traders said investors were cautious with the Nikkei
benchmark index near the key resistance line of 20,000 points.
"Most of the recent rallies were due to short-covering by
foreign investors who had sold in March and April on
geopolitical concerns before such concerns receded," said Yutaka
Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Foreign investors sold a total of 1.6 trillion yen of
Japanese stocks and futures between mid-March and mid-April,
according to data from the Japan Exchange Group, the operator of
Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In the last week of April, foreign investors bought 569.65
billion yen in Japanese stocks.
"Short-covering seems to be continuing and will likely run
its course shortly," Miura said. "In order for new money to come
in, we need to see solid gains in U.S. markets first as it's an
indicator of investors' appetites."
In Japan, eyes were also on corporate earnings.
Takeda Pharmaceutical soared 2 percent after the
drugmaker expected a 16 percent rise in its operating profit for
the year through March.
Conversely, TDK Corp dropped 2 percent after
forecasting a 62 percent decline in its net profit for this
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was flat at 14,145.18
(Editing by Randy Fabi)