September 17, 2013 / 2:15 AM / 4 years ago

Nikkei edges up, investors cautious as focus turns to Fed outcome

* Nikkei adds 0.3 pct, Topix up 0.5 pct
    * Mobile operators lose ground
    * Investors brace for Fed outcome on stimulus outlook

    By Tomo Uetake
    TOKYO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average came out
of a holiday on a firmer footing on Tuesday, playing catch-up to
news that Lawrence Summers had dropped out of the race to head
the Federal Reserve as markets brace for the U.S. central bank's
decision on its stimulus programme.
    The benchmark Nikkei rose 0.3 percent to 14,441.54
in mid-morning trade after adding 0.1 percent to 14,404.67 on
Friday.  The markets were closed on Monday for a public holiday.
    A Russian-brokered deal that has averted U.S. strikes on
Syria also supported sentiment.
    The broader Topix advanced 0.5 percent to 1,191.20.
   "Summers' withdrawal from the candidate is positive for
equity markets as it supports expectations that the pace of
tapering will be more gradual," said Kenichi Hirano, a
strategist at Tachibana Securities.
    Summers was seen as more prone to winding down stimulus than
the new front-runner, Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen,
bolstering expectations that the Fed will keep its current
accommodative path for a longer period. 
    "The Nikkei is likely to stay subdued as investors will
refrain from taking positions until the Fed meeting is  over,"
Hirano added.
    Analysts said the market is focused on when and by how much 
the Fed will scale back its $85 billion monthly stimulus at its
Sept. 17-18 meeting. 
    Stainless steel maker Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co Ltd 
soared 21.1 percent and was the sixth-most traded stock by
turnover on the main board, buoyed by continued euphoria over
the 2020 Summer Olympics. It helped make the iron and steel
sector subindex the biggest gainer on Topix.
    On the downside, the information and communication companies
subindex was the worst performer as mobile phone
companies suffered from worries about stiffer competition after
the industry leader NTT DoCoMo Inc said last week it
will start to offer Apple's iPhones.
    KDDI Corp fell 4.8 percent while SoftBank Corp
 dropped 2.1 percent. DoCoMo shares weren't spared
either, falling 2.2 percent on speculation its offer of iPhones
could unleash a price war with its competitors.
    Other notable movers were drugmaker Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd
, which dropped 5.9 percent after its subsidiary in
India, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, saw its third plant
hit by U.S. import ban on safety concerns. 
    The benchmark Nikkei is up 39 percent this year, underpinned
by the Japanese government's aggressive monetary and fiscal
stimulus, but is still down 9 percent since its May peak.

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