Nikkei edges up in quiet trade as market awaits U.S. jobs data

Wed Mar 5, 2014 8:53pm EST

* Some investors picking up Ukraine-hit stocks
    * Exporters enjoy bout of yen weakness
    * Real estate shares extend gains

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was
steady on Thursday morning after rising to a one-week high the
previous day, but trading was subdued with investors on the
sidelines before the release of U.S. jobs data on Friday.
    In a peek at Friday's job numbers, payroll processor ADP
said U.S. private-sector employers added fewer workers than
expected in February, and the Institute for Supply Management
showed services sector growth slowed in February, although soft
data has been largely dismissed by the market and blamed on the
weather. 
    "Dismissing soft data has become a recent pattern, so if the
U.S. jobs data on Friday is better than expected, investors may
get excited," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at
Daiwa Securities. "The Nikkei's resistance is seen at 15,100 but
it may top this level if that happens."
    The Nikkei share average rose 0.1 percent to
14,908.03 in mid-morning trade after rising 1.2 percent at
14,897.63 on Wednesday, its highest closing level since Feb. 27.
    Market participants kept a close eye on developments out of
Ukraine, and some investors continued to pick up shares battered
by events there. 
    Exporters were steady, with Sony Corp rising 2.8
percent, while Toyota Motor Corp adding 1.2 percent, as
the dollar stood at 102.32, continuing to pull away from
Monday's trough of 101.20. A weak yen lifts Japanese exporters'
competitiveness abroad as well as their overseas profits when
repatriated.
    The Topix rose 0.3 percent to 1,216.91. 
    Real estate shares, which rose on Wednesday on
short-covering, also extended the gains. Mitsui Fudosan Co
 added 2.6 percent and Mitsubishi Estate Co 
advanced 1.0 percent.
    The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this
year comprising firms with high return on equity and strong
corporate governance, advanced 0.3 percent to 11,016.33.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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