December 17, 2018 / 3:12 AM / a year ago

Nikkei rebounds as investors bargain hunt after sharp falls

* Nishimatsuya dives after co cuts annual profit forecast

* Weaker oil prices lift utility cos

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei rose on Monday, recouping some of Friday’s sharp losses as investors picked up battered shares, but the upside was curbed by persistent concerns over global growth.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.8 percent to 21,536.85 at the midday break, after it slumped 2 percent on Friday, when a drop in U.S. futures suggested a fall in Wall Street. U.S. shares later stumbled on global growth worries.

“The Japanese market priced in negative news in advance,” said Toru Ibayashi, executive director of Wealth Management at UBS Securities Japan. “The market seems to be digesting concerns about global growth and some of such worries have been priced into the market for now.”

Machinery and technology shares, which were sold on worries about China’s weak retail growth and industrial output numbers, gained ground.

Advantest Corp surged 2.4 percent, Tokyo Electron gained 2.1 percent and TDK Corp soared 2.6 percent.

Weaker oil prices lifted utility shares on hopes of lower costs. Tokyo Electric Power Co gained 2.8 percent and Chubu Electric Power Co added 1.9 percent.

On the other hand, mining stocks lost ground. Inpex Corp fell 1.7 percent.

Hit by weak economic data from China pointing to lower fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer, oil prices dropped about 2 percent on Friday before edging up in Asian trade on Monday.

Bucking the stronger market, discount children’s wear operator Nishimatsuya Chain nosedived more than 10 percent at one point after the company cut its full-year net profit forecast by 42 percent to 3.33 billion yen ($29.3 million) for the year ending February due to weak sales of baby clothes.

Askul Corp tumbled 9.2 percent after its pretax profit dropped 54.5 percent on year to 958 million yen for the first half ended November hit by rising delivery costs amid driver shortage.

The broader Topix rose 0.4 percent to 1,598.45. ($1 = 113.4900 yen) (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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