August 6, 2018 / 3:49 AM / 9 days ago

Nikkei edges up in choppy trade but gains limited as trade war weighs

* Market cautious before Japan-U.S. bilateral talks this week

* NTT Data soars after April-June profits cheer market

* Foster Electric dives after expecting a net loss this FY

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged up in choppy trade on Monday morning but gains were limited as investors remained cautious ahead of corporate earnings and this week's trade talks between Washington and Tokyo.

The Nikkei gained 0.3 percent to 22,598.26 in midmorning trade swinging between positive and negative territory.

The People's Bank of China late on Friday raised the reserve requirement on foreign exchange forward positions, making it more expensive to bet against the Chinese currency.

Analysts said that the Japanese stock market is likely to move in a narrow range this week as investors are expected to stay on the sidelines amid global trade tensions.

"Investors are cautious ahead of Japan-U.S. bilateral talks this week. There is a possibility that the yen will rise on sensitive trade talks," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

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 when Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi meets U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington on Aug. 9.

Gainers on Monday included iron and drug stocks, while banking shares lost ground. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp surged 1.8 percent, Astellas Pharma added 1.4 percent, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.5 percent.

Eyes were on earnings releases, with NTT Data jumping 7.3 percent after its April-June profits cheered the market. The company's net profit rose 23 percent to 20.81 billion yen thanks to strong public infrastructure business in the domestic market.

Foster Electric dived 19 percent after it said it expects a net loss of 2.5 billion yen for the year ending March 2019 due to falling demand for headsets from its main customers, compared to its previous guidance of a net profit of 2.5 billion yen.

Meanwhile, Isuzu Motors soared more than 3 percent after the automaker said it would buy back up to 6.34 percent of the stock for as much as 80 billion yen, after it and Toyota Motor said they would dissolve their capital ties.

The broader Topix gained 0.3 percent to 1,746.92. (Editing by Sam Holmes)

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