Nikkei edges up in quiet trade as market awaits U.S. jobs data
* Some investors picking up Ukraine-hit stocks * Exporters enjoy bout of yen weakness * Real estate shares extend gains By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, March 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was steady on Thursday morning after rising to a one-week high the previous day, but trading was subdued with investors on the sidelines before the release of U.S. jobs data on Friday. In a peek at Friday's job numbers, payroll processor ADP said U.S. private-sector employers added fewer workers than expected in February, and the Institute for Supply Management showed services sector growth slowed in February, although soft data has been largely dismissed by the market and blamed on the weather. "Dismissing soft data has become a recent pattern, so if the U.S. jobs data on Friday is better than expected, investors may get excited," said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities. "The Nikkei's resistance is seen at 15,100 but it may top this level if that happens." The Nikkei share average rose 0.1 percent to 14,908.03 in mid-morning trade after rising 1.2 percent at 14,897.63 on Wednesday, its highest closing level since Feb. 27. Market participants kept a close eye on developments out of Ukraine, and some investors continued to pick up shares battered by events there. Exporters were steady, with Sony Corp rising 2.8 percent, while Toyota Motor Corp adding 1.2 percent, as the dollar stood at 102.32, continuing to pull away from Monday's trough of 101.20. A weak yen lifts Japanese exporters' competitiveness abroad as well as their overseas profits when repatriated. The Topix rose 0.3 percent to 1,216.91. Real estate shares, which rose on Wednesday on short-covering, also extended the gains. Mitsui Fudosan Co added 2.6 percent and Mitsubishi Estate Co advanced 1.0 percent. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprising firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, advanced 0.3 percent to 11,016.33.
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