Nikkei edges up, but gains limited on U.S. fiscal concerns; Sharp rises

Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:31am GMT

* Risk aversion keeps market directionless-trader
    * Sharp jumps 6.6 percent on investment talks

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares edged up on
Wednesday, with debt-stricken Sharp Corp rising on news
of a possible investment, but broader gains were capped by
worries over the looming fiscal crisis in the United States and
debt woes in the euro zone.
    U.S.-based Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc are
in talks to jointly invest about 30 billion yen ($378 million)
Sharp, sources said, causing shares of the consumer electronics
maker to jump 6.6 percent. 
    But other exporters weakened as investors fretted over
whether the United States would be able to avoid the "fiscal
cliff" of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts. Worries over
progress in Greece's debt package also weighed.  
    By the midday break, the Nikkei share average was up
0.1 percent at 8,670.67 after falling for a seventh straight
session on Tuesday. The broader Topix index was flat at
722.77.
    Toshiba Corp, Komatsu Ltd and Nikon Corp
 shed between 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent.
    "We all saw that companies reported weak earnings and cut
their full-year outlooks. We cannot buy stocks whose products
are particularly sensitive to global demand," said Makoto
Kikuchi, chief executive of Myojo Asset Management, adding that
trading may stay directionless as investors shun risk.
    Aiful Corp climbed 23 percent, recovering from
Tuesday's 9.8 percent slide, after the consumer financing
company reported a 53.6 percent year-on-year rise in first-half
operating profit to 14.5 billion yen.
    The benchmark is still up 2.4 percent so far this year but
lags behind a 9.3 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a
10.6 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600.
    By the midday break, 670.98 million shares on the Tokyo
stock exchange's main board changed handS, compared to last
week's average daily volume of 1.59 billion shares. 
    "Those who are trading today actively are either individual
investors or day traders who can take risks, and they are
trading on small cap stocks," said Fumiyuki Nakanishi, a
strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. "Since long-term investors
are staying on the sidelines, total volume is low."
    A euro-zone finance ministers' meeting on Monday gave Greece
two more years to make cuts, but held off disbursing more aid as
the euro zone and IMF clashed over a longer-term target date to
shrink the country's debt.