* Nikkei up 0.2 pct; Topix flat * Investors await delayed US Sept payroll data * Nikkei unlikely to top 15,000 soon - traders By Tomo Uetake TOKYO, Oct 22 Japan's Nikkei stock average seesawed on Tuesday morning ahead of a key U.S. jobs report - an outcome eagerly awaited by global markets for clues on when the Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its stimulus. The payrolls data for September, delayed by the 16-day U.S. government shutdown, will be released later in the day. The benchmark Nikkei added 0.2 percent to 14,716.23 in a choppy session after trading as low as 14,641.78. The index closed at a three-week high of 14,693.57 on Monday. SoftBank Corp, the most traded stock by turnover on the main board, advanced 1.5 percent to a 13-year high, with a trader saying that Google Inc's strong earnings bode well for China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba . Softbank has a 30 percent stake in Alibaba. "While institutional investors are sitting on the sideline waiting for the U.S. data, hedge funds and retail investors are actively trading mid-caps and small-caps," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management. Many analysts expect the U.S. central bank to delay unwinding the $85 billion-a-month programme given the government shutdown and the possibility of another bitter U.S. budget fight between Democrats and Republicans early next year. Some traders said the upcoming U.S. payrolls data for September is unlikely to dispel uncertainties on the Fed's policy given that the data does not shed light on the impact of a government shutdown. "Until we see October payrolls data in November and get conviction that the Fed's tapering will be next year, the Nikkei is unlikely to rise above 15,000," said Ichiyoshi's Akino. The broader Topix was flat at 1,212.37 in relatively light trade, with volume at 33.1 percent of its full daily average for the past 90 trading days. The market is supported by expectations of strong earnings results on the back of a recovery in the Japanese economy. Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co Ltd rose 1.5 percent after the company boosted its earning estimates on Monday, citing strong sales. But market players also said some shares fell in the past few sessions even after solid earning results, pointing to risk investors expectations may have gone a bit too high. Toyota Motor Co rose 1.0 percent while Fuji Heavy Industries fell 1.2 percent after Barclays put an 'overweight' rating on the former and an 'underweight' on the latter. The sea transport sector subindex fell 1.4 percent on profit-taking and was the worst sectoral performer on the Topix, giving up some of the 3.1 percent rise in the previous three sessions.
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