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Nikkei edges up to 22,525 as trading incentives elude

JIJI

The benchmark Nikkei average gave up early gains to end marginally higher on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday as a wait-and-see mood grew amid a lack of fresh buying incentives.

The 225-issue index finished up 12.65 points, or 0.06 percent, at 22,525.18. On Thursday, the key market gauge fell 234.17 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues fell 9.51 points, or 0.54 percent, to end at 1,742.58, after losing 17.67 points the previous day.

The Tokyo market opened higher after the U.S. Nasdaq Composite Index rose overnight on Apple’s strong earnings despite swirling worries about U.S.-China trade tensions, brokers said.

Investors were also relieved to see no new escalation in the trade conflict, they added.

But both Nikkei and Topix soon began to lose steam as players retreated to the sidelines amid a dearth of major trading incentives.

Banks and other financial issues were hit by profit-taking following drops in Japanese long-term interest rates, brokers said, adding that sluggish markets in other parts of Asia also dampened investor sentiment.

“Trading was slow as there were few market-moving factors,” said Ryuta Otsuka, strategist at the investment information department of Toyo Securities Co.

Some investors ended up sitting on the fences ahead of the U.S. government’s release later Friday of jobs data for July, he also said.

Heavy selling hit shares of companies that released dismal earnings results, an official of a bank-affiliated brokerage said.

Falling issues outnumbered rising ones 1,609 to 435 in the TSE’s first section, while 59 issues were unchanged.

Volume fell to 1.399 billion shares from 1.642 billion on Thursday.

Automaker Suzuki jumped 8.55 percent and machinery producer Mitsubishi Heavy added 1.91 percent after posting robust earnings for April-June on Thursday.

Clothing chain Fast Retailing and game maker Nintendo were also among noticeable winners.

On the other hand, Kubota plunged 8.29 percent following a profit warning for the year ending in December.

Itochu lost 2.59 percent as group net profit in April-June failed to beat a market consensus.

In addition to big banks and insurers, automaker Toyota and beer brewer Asahi Group lost ground.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average ended flat at 22,510.