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Japanese shares flat

Japanese shares ended flat on Monday following weaker-than-expected growth data while dealers await further easing steps from international monetary authorities.

The Nikkei index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.07 percent, or 6.29 points, to 8,885.15, but the Topix of all first section shares rose 0.02 percent, or 0.16 points, to 746.95.

The market opened lower after the Cabinet Office said Japan's April-June GDP grew 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, sharply weaker than market expectations of a 0.7 percent increase.

The benchmark Nikkei index temporarily crawled into the positive territory but fell back again by the close, amid thin trade as many investors left for summer vacations.

“Despite all the uncertainty over global economic growth, it's important to note that the (Dow Jones Industrial Average) remains not far from its year high,” said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.

The US blue-chip index finished Friday up 42.76 points (0.32

percent) at 13,207.95.

The market was well supported as many players were betting on easing from central banks, Hirano told Dow Jones Newswires.

Weaker-than-expected Chinese export data Friday may be weighing on the Tokyo market, a CLSA equity strategist said.

The yen was quoted at 78.26 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, virtually unchanged from New York late Friday.

The euro stood at $1.2294 and 96.25 yen, compared with $1.2291

and 96.16 yen.

Shares of Sharp dropped 4.30 percent to 200 yen after news reports said the Japanese electronics giant was considering selling overseas factories to Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision in a bid to turn around its ailing finances. - Sapa-AFP

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