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Nikkei closes nearly unchanged as tech shares cap gains

TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Thursday, led by cyclical firms that would benefit from a global economic rebound and banks which tracked their U.S. peers, while a fall in technology stocks capped gains.

Nikkei share average edged up 0.07% to close at 29,642.69, after briefly retreating following a senior politician’s comments on the possible cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics.

The broader Topix rose 0.54% to 1,962.78.

“There are concerns about the economic slowdown in Japan due to a resurgence of the virus, but investors are looking at the economic sensitive stocks that would benefit from foreign demand,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“Particularly, foreign trades are expected to be active and that is boosting shipping firms.”

The Topix subindex for shippers gained most among the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange, with Nippon Yusen jumping 4.37%, Mitsui OSK Lines rising 2.77% and Kawasaki Kisen gaining 3.43%.

The sub-indexes for mining and oil refiners also advanced.

Chip-related firms Tokyo Electron and Advantest fell 1.94% and 2.6%, respectively, after an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley cut their investment ratings.

Financial shares rose after Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Wells Fargo & Co advanced on bumper first-quarter profits.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.28%, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group gained 1.58% and Nomura Holdings advanced 2.01%.

Seven & i Holdings, up 5.41%, was the largest percentage gainer on the Nikkei, followed by Nippon Yusen and Sumitomo Metal Mining, which rose 3.98%. The largest loser on the Nikkei was Casio Computer, down 3.12%, followed by Screen Holdings, which fell 3.01%, and Advantest.

There were 159 advancers on the Nikkei against 60 decliners.

Reporing by Junko Fujita; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Krishna Chandra Eluri

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