Japan's Nikkei tracks Wall Street higher, earnings caution limit gains

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei index edged up on Friday, tracking Wall Street’s climb overnight, but the gains were limited as caution for negative surprises from domestic firms’ earnings weighed on sentiment.

The Nikkei share average inched up 0.07% to 27,381.18 by the midday break and was set to post a 3% gain for the week. The broader Topix was up 0.07% to 1,979.85 and was set to rise 2.74% for the week.

Wall Street ended a choppy session higher overnight as investors grappled with an onslaught of economic data and a string of mixed corporate earnings.

“Investors sold stocks after the Nikkei has recovered all the declines stemmed from the Bank of Japan’s policy tweak last month,” said Jun Morita, general manager of the research department at Chibagin Asset Management.

“Also, amid the earnings season, investors are cautious about negative surprises after Nidec posted a disappointing outlook.”

The electric motor maker Nidec disappointed investors by slashing its full-year operating profit forecast by nearly half, sending the stock down as much as 7% in the following session.

Nidec jumped 2.98% and on the course to post a 2.38% weekly gain.

Wafer maker Shin-Etsu Chemical jumped 3.55% after raising its full year profit forecast.

Toyota Motor inched down 0.5% in seesaw trade after announcing that Akio Toyoda will step down as president and chief executive to become chairman from April 1, and hand over the helm of Japan’s biggest automaker to its top branding officer, Koji Sato.

Core consumer prices in Japan’s capital, a leading indicator of nationwide trends, rose 4.3% in January from a year earlier, marking the fastest annual gain in nearly 42 years.

Banking sector rose 1.08% to become the top gainer among the 33 industry sub-indexes, while the shipping sector slipped 4.42% to become the worst performer. ($1 = 129.7300 yen) (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V)