February 23, 2018 / 2:34 AM / 4 months ago

Nikkei edges up, supported by gains in defensive stocks

TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up on Friday morning, with most sectors advancing as sentiment improved after fears of more aggressive U.S. interest rate hikes receded, with defensive stocks such as construction and utilities outperforming.

The Nikkei rose 0.3 percent to 21,791.68 in midmorning trade. For the week, the benchmark index was up 0.4 percent.

Construction companies Kajima Corp and Taisei Corp climbed 2.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, and Tokyo Electric Power Co rose 1.8 percent.

Mining stocks also gained, with Inpex and Japan Petroleum Exploration both surging 2.0 percent after oil prices rose to two-week highs.

Exporters were mixed. Some investors hesitated to take positions, on caution the U.S. share market could see volatility again.

The broader Topix gained 0.4 percent to 1,753.98. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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