August 8, 2018 / 2:52 AM / in 3 months

Nikkei up on tech shares but gains limited before US-Japan trade talks

* Market braces for U.S.-Japan trade talks

* NTT soars after co says to launch global holding co

* Kirin tumbles after its business profit falls

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei rose on Wednesday morning led by tech shares on the back of a solid performance from their U.S. peers, while investors also bid up firms with brisk earnings such as Nikon and Daikin.

Overall gains, however, were limited as the market braced for U.S.-Japan trade talks slated in Washington on Thursday. Tokyo is seeking ways to counter U.S. pressure for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and head off a rise in tariffs on its auto exports.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.4 percent to 22,754.28 in midmorning trade, hovering at its one-week highs.

“People are cautious ahead of Thursday’s trade talks... they are bracing for the U.S.’s hard stance on Japan because that has been the pattern with China and Europe,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

Tech shares outperformed, with TDK Corp rising 3.9 percent, Hitachi Ltd gaining 1.7 percent and Sumco Corp adding 2.3 percent.

NTT Corp jumped 3.1 percent after the telecommunication company said that it will set up a global holding firm focused on overseas IT business on hopes to strengthen its competitiveness aboard.

Nikon Corp soared 8 percent after the camera maker raised its net profit outlook to 53 billion yen from 50 billion yen for the year ending March 2019, due to strong demand in high-end digital cameras as well as reduced costs. It also expects to pay a higher annual dividend.

Air-conditioning system maker Daikin Industries soared 4 percent after its April-June operating profit rose 11.7 percent to 83.1 billion yen.

On the downside, Kirin Holdings tumbled after its business profits fell 5 percent on the year to 49.2 billion yen.

Nomura Securities said that although it was ahead of its own estimate of 45 billion yen, it was mainly due to better-than-expected performances at Kyowa Hakko Kirin which had already announced results.

The broader Topix gained 0.3 percent to 1,751.24. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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