Nikkei ekes out gains, strong earnings expectations provide support

TOKYO, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average eked out gains on Tuesday, with expectations for strong corporate earnings underpinning sentiment.

Information technology service provider Obic Co rose as much as 7.9 percent to an 18-year peak after the Nikkei reported that the company’s operating profit for the nine months through December likely rose by a fifth.

Exporters were also given some breathing space as the dollar’s recent weakening against the yen paused, with the greenback last up 0.3 percent against its Japanese peer.

Toyota Motor Corp edged up 0.5 percent and Nissan Motor Co added 0.3 percent.

The Nikkei was up 0.38 percent at 23,804.67 as of 0149 GMT, confined in a narrow range as Asian markets struggled to find firm leads with U.S. bourses closed on Monday for a holiday.

The broader Topix rose 0.18 percent to 1,887.31.

Out of Tokyo’s 33 subindexes, 15 were in positive territory, led by fish and forestry and metal products . The losing sectors were led by iron and steel and sea transport. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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