* Nikkei has gained 11 pct since U.S. election
* Oil shares extend gains
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks paused on Tuesday morning after a strong rally and as investors pondered the impact of a powerful earthquake that hit northern Japan.
Before the Tokyo market opened, Nikkei futures traded in the United States briefly slipped after the quake, which also triggered a tsunami.
There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries several hours after the quake hit at 5:59 a.m. (2059 GMT Monday), and the Nikkei was flat at 18,101.72 as at 0150 GMT, after opening a touch lower.
"Investors will react if more manufacturers are halting operations in their factories in the region, but right now the impact from the earthquake is limited," said Hiroaki Mino, director of investment information department at Mizuho Securities.
Nissan Motor Co said it would suspend work at its engine factory in Fukushima at least until the tsunami warning is lifted. Its shares were down 1.3 percent.
The Japanese market rallied 11 percent since the Nov. 8 U.S. election, with investors buying exporters on hopes that a weakening yen would boost their earnings. The dollar has surged on expectations that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's policies would stoke inflation, and lead to faster-than-expected Federal Reserve rate increases.
Japanese financial stocks also gained on rising U.S. yields.
Traders said that with Japanese markets closed for a national holiday on Wednesday, investors are likely to stay on the sidelines throughout the day.
"Because the market has gained sharply over the past week, people are cautious before the holiday as anything could happen while they are off," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.
Mining shares extended their gains after oil prices rose to their highest level since October on Tuesday.
Inpex Corp surged 2.0 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co soared 3.6 percent.
Exporters were mostly weaker in line with a slight bounce in the yen, with Toyota Motor Corp falling 0.9 percent, Honda Motor Co dropping 0.4 percent and Advantest Corp shedding 1.0 percent.
The broader Topix was up 0.1 percent to 1,443.85 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.1 percent to 12,954.39. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)