Japanese shares edge up as utility stocks jump

Japanese shares edge up as utility stocks jump
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(July 4): Japanese stocks gained on Monday, after closing near a two-week low in the previous session, supported by utility companies as the county continues to deal with an unprecedented heatwave heading into July.

However, investor sentiment remained muted due to fears of a global economic slowdown.

The Nikkei share average edged up 0.58% to 26,085 after briefly dipping below the psychological 26,000 mark.

The broader Topix gained 1.14% to 1863.67.

U.S. markets are closed on Monday for a holiday, which is likely to limit trading elsewhere.

Given the lack of factors to encourage buying, the market is within the range of a rebound from the steep drop seen last week, said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.

The Nikkei logged a weekly loss of 3.01% on Friday, while the Topix slipped 2.08%.

Utilities gained 4%, making it the best performing sector on the Nikkei, with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc surging 11.4%.

Technology giant SoftBank Group was up 2.96%, after posting a weekly drop of more than 6%.

SoftBank-affiliated fund Fortress Investment Group was reported over the weekend to have offered more than 200 billion yen ($1.47 billion) to buy Seven & I Holdings' department store unit Sogo & Seibu.

On the other hand, department store owner J. Front Retailing Co. Ltd tumbled 5.54% after it released sales data for its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores after Japanese markets closed on Friday.

KDDI Corp lost 1.79%, falling as much as 3.9% in volatile early trading, as the mobile operator experienced widespread network issues over the weekend.