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Nikkei gains ground but upside capped


Stocks gained ground Tuesday following a rise in U.S. equities and the yen’s easing, but their upside was capped amid a dearth of fresh incentives.

The Nikkei 225 average ended up 30.79 points, or 0.20 percent, at 15,161.31.

The Topix grew 5.18 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 1,257.69.

The TSE opened on a firm note on the heels of overnight rises in U.S. and major European equities and the yen’s weakness.

The Nikkei extended gains to briefly top 15,200 in midmorning but trimmed those gains in the afternoon to briefly fall into minus territory, weighed down by some index futures-led selling, brokers said.

Overall, trading was subdued as many investors were away for summer vacation, brokers said.

Investors retreated to the sidelines prior to Wednesday’s release of Japan’s gross domestic product for April-June, brokers said.

Expected dismal GDP data reflecting the April consumption tax hike weighed down stock prices, an official at a major securities firm said.

“Buying centered on shares of companies with fresh incentives, such as Colopl and Mixi,” which is on the Mothers market for startups, said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Kasset Co.

Colopl, a smartphone game developer and distributor, was the most active issue by value on the first section, with its trading value being some 3.7 times greater than that of second-ranking SoftBank. Buying of Colopl was spurred after social networking site operator Mixi announced its strong earnings report late last week, brokers said.

“Basically, investors are likely to take a wait-and-see stance this week while aggressively purchasing issues less sensitive to external factors, such as game-related firms,” Hirano said.

Even after Japan’s weak GDP is announced, the market would have no power to rise sharply on expectations that there would be no more negative factors for the time being, Hirano said.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,017 to 662 on the first section, while 138 issues were unchanged.

Volume decreased to 1.618 billion shares from Monday’s 1.874 billion.

Colopl jumped 8.26 percent, and Mixi rocketed 19.57 percent to score a daily-limit gain.

Steel-makers Nippon & Sumitomo Metal, Kobe Steel and JFE Holdings were buoyant after a foreign brokerage firm released a report Monday that pointed to the steel sector, brokers said.

Megabank groups Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mizuho were also upbeat.

On the other hand, mobile carriers SoftBank and KDDI came under apparent profit-taking.