* Risk aversion keeps market directionless-trader * Sharp jumps 6.6 percent on investment talks By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Nov 14 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.
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