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Nikkei edges up 0.13% in directionless trade

07-02-2010 17:43 BJT

TOKYO, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Tokyo stocks edged up Friday as bargain hunters picked up issues that had fallen with the Nikkei's recent spat of declines, but investors remained predominantly circumspect ahead of key job data due out from the U.S. amid ongoing concerns about the health of the world's biggest economy.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 12.11 points, or 0.13 percent, from Thursday to 9,203.71, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 2. 59 points, or 0.31 percent, to close the week at 830.98.

Analysts maintained that buybacks of shares that had recently been oversold and the yen's relative retreat against the U.S. dollar and euro -- which helped export-related issues recently battered by a strong yen -- helped support the market and snap a five-day losing streak on the Nikkei, but investors took up passive stances ahead of U.S. nonfarm payroll data due later on Friday and market players said trading was largely directionless.

Brokers added that a slew of macroeconomic data coming out of the U.S. recently had fallen short of market expectations and raised fears that the pace of the U.S. economy is significantly slowing, but fears were partially offset by the euro rising to a five-week high against the dollar, spurring short-covering in cheaper blue-chips.

"The theme in the market is that the U.S. is heading to an economic slowdown," said a local analyst.

"The economy is recovering, but its momentum is weakening. People aren't sure if the recovery is coming back to a normal pace or if it's slowing down into a double dip."

Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief equity market officer at Tokai Tokyo Securities, added, it is hard to see what will happen, because while a halt to the euro's recent slide has helped the market today, the U.S. data yesterday was worse than expected."

"Investors are still pulling out of risky assets and there's still concern about sovereign risk issues in Europe."

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