November 12, 2018 / 6:53 AM / a month ago

Nikkei edges up in choppy trade, defensive shares outperform

* Investors attention shifts to economic events from earnings -traders

* Futures buying seen at level around 22,000 - analyst

* Mitsui Fudosan soars after raising forecast

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged up in choppy trade on Monday as buying of cheapened stocks was largely offset by cautious sentiment driven by weakness on Wall Street and falling U.S. tech shares.

The Nikkei share average gained 0.1 percent to 22,269.88 after trading lower in early deals. The benchmark index fell to as low as 22,046.29, but traders said that futures buying supported the market.

“Investors are buying on the dip today, while futures buying seemed to have kicked in when the index neared the 22,000 level,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Analysts said that a modestly softer yen also supported sentiment.

Overall, however, they said investors remained cautious as the U.S. Federal Reserve looked set to deliver another rate hike in December, while fresh signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy kept equities under pressure on Monday.

The broader Topix edged down 0.1 percent to 1,671.95.

Analysts also said that with most Japanese companies reporting their first-half earnings, investors’ attention will shift to economic events such as the G20 meeting.

“The Chinese economy will be one of the focal points for investors while many Japanese companies are cautious about demand from China” for their second half earnings through end-March, said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

“They will be focused on China’s economic indicators and the outcome of the G20 meeting.”

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of November on the sidelines of a G20 leaders summit to discuss a possible way out of their deepening trade war.

Defensive stocks outperformed, with food, utility and land transport firms rising. Ajinomoto gained 1.3 percent, NH Foods advanced 2.5 percent, Tokyo Gas rose 0.9 percent and East Japan Railway advanced 1.4 percent.

Tech shares underperformed after the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index fell 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq dropped 1.7 percent. Advantest Corp dived 5.5 percent and TDK Corp shed 4.01 percent.

Elsewhere, Mitsui Fudosan rallied 3.5 percent after the realtor raised its net profit forecast to 163 billion yen from 153 billion yen for the year ending March 2019 thanks to strong condo sales.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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