Japanese shares open flat

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Tokyo, Feb 15 (AFP) Japanese shares opened flat today,as investors stayed cautious ahead of the release of Chineseinflation data.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange added5.32 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 10,730.86 shortly after theopening bell.

Global markets have been awaiting the release of theChinese data to gauge the likelihood of Beijing introducingfurther tightening to slow growth.

Investors would also be eyeing comments by Bank ofJapan governor Masaaki Shirakawa later today amid speculationthat he will present a more optimistic assessment of thenation''s economic outlook.

The central bank''s policy board will end its two-daymeeting later today.

"While Shirakawa has already said Japan''s economy isset to emerge from a lull, investors are watching whethereconomic prospects have become even brighter," Hiroichi Nishi,general manager at Nikko Cordial Securities, told Dow JonesNewswires.

But Japanese shares may come under pressure fromprofit-taking following a spike on Monday, Nishi said.

With corporate earnings winding down, the market islacking fresh trading cues, he added.

The dollar was at 83.36 yen in early Tokyo trade,slightly up from 83.29 yen in New York Monday. The euro wasalso nearly flat at USD 1.3484, compared with USD 1.3486 inNew York.

The overnight performance of US shares did not providea clear direction for Tokyo.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 5.07 points(0.04 per cent) to finish at 12,268.19, while the tech-heavyNasdaq added 7.74 points (0.28 per cent) at 2,817.18.

The S&P 500 index, a broad measure of the markets,rose 3.17 points (0.24 per cent) at 1,332.32. (AFP)

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