(Corrects spelling for refinery in headline)
* Beneficiaries of higher oil prices lead gains
* Nikkei-heavyweight Fast Retailing falls on profit-taking
* Investors await earnings news; Nidec due to report Tuesday
By Tomo Uetake and Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei average ended modestly higher on Tuesday, with oil-related stocks leading the gains after Washington moved to end all Iran sanctions waivers, while recent gainers such as Fast Retailing and Yaskawa Electric dropped on profit-taking.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index eked out a gain of 0.2 percent to close at 22,259.74 points, not too far from its 4-1/2-month high of 22,345.19 brushed last week.
The mining and oil sectors, potential beneficiaries of higher oil prices, led the gains, rising 2.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
Inpex Corp jumped 2.8 percent, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co rose 1.3 percent, while Idemitsu Kosan gained 1.7 percent.
Oil prices were near 2019 highs on Tuesday after Washington announced all Iran sanction waivers would end by May, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran.
Traders said that investors had chased cyclical stocks higher over the past few weeks as risk sentiment recovered on better-than-expected Chinese economic data.
However, with Japanese companies releasing their annual results later this week and ahead of the 10-day Golden Week holiday, investors are pocketing profits from recent gainers, they said.
Index-heavyweight Fast Retailing dropped 1.8 percent after it hit a record high on Monday and Yaskawa Electric tumbled 2.9 percent after the share climbed to its 10 month-highs also on the previous day.
“Caution is rising before the earnings as investors focus on signs on whether Chinese demand is recovering,” said Takuya Takahashi, strategist at Daiwa Securities, adding that the market players keenly await Nidec Corp’s results coming after the market close.
Nidec ended the session down 0.4 percent.
Reflecting investors’ defensive stance, domestic-demand sensitive stocks fared better, with utilities, drugmakers and railroad companies gaining ground.
Chubu Electric Power rose 1.3 percent, Daiichi Sankyo soared 2.6 percent and West Japan Railway rose 1.7 percent.
The broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 1,622.97. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa and Tomo Uetake; Editing by Kim Coghill & Simon Cameron-Moore)