August 22, 2019 / 2:36 AM / a month ago

Japan's Nikkei little changed ahead of Jackson Hole; Shiseido advances

TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei was little changed on Wednesday, as investors held positions ahead of a key central bankers’ gathering in the United States, which could provide markets with some near-term cues.

The Nikkei share average was up 0.02% at 20,622.01 as of 0215 GMT.

Markets are in a holding patter ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on Friday at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference of central bank officials. Investor focus will be on Powell’s comments on monetary policy and any hints he provides ahead of September’s rates meeting, at which the Fed is widely expected to ease policy.

Cosmetics makers and retail store operators popular with tourists rose after government data showed the number of foreign visitors to Japan in July increased 5.6% from the previous year.

Shiseido was up 4.9%, leading the index on percentage gains. Fellow cosmetics companies Fancl Corp climbed 2.9% and Kose Corp added 3.1%.

Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co, which operates a chain of drugstores, rose 1.8% and Pan Pacific International Holdings Corp, the operator of Don Quijote discount stores, added 1%.

Technology shares advanced on the back of continuing strength in their U.S. counterparts, which have helped Wall Street’s strong over the past week.

Tokyo Electron gained 1.1%, Advantest advanced 1.6% and SCREEN Holdings rose 3.4%.

There were 106 advancers on the Nikkei index against 111 decliners.

The largest percentage losses in the index was CyberAgent Inc, which fell 3.1%.

The broader Topix dipped 0.08% to 1,496.26. (Editing by Sam Holmes)

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