September 20, 2018 / 6:47 AM / a month ago

Nikkei steady as financials rise, profit taking limits gains

* Nikkei inches up 0.01 pct, rises for 5th straight day

* Nikkei’s rise slows, profit taking kicks in after days of gains

* Market barely moves on PM Abe’s party leadership vote victory

* Banks, insurers, brokerages extend gains amid rise in US yields

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei ended little changed on Thursday as an extended rally in financial shares were largely offset by profit taking after several days of big gains for the broader market.

The Nikkei inched up 0.01 percent to 23,674.93, just about staying in the positive for the fifth day.

The stock market barely blinked after a well-anticipated win by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a ruling party leadership vote.

“The margin of Prime Minister Abe’s leadership vote win was largely in line with expectations. The vote result is not something that looks to have a strong market impact,” said Yoshinori Ogawa, senior strategist at Okasan Securities.

“The market is now looking a little over extended and it is quite natural for profit taking to emerge under such circumstances.”

The Nikkei has risen 2.5 percent this week, having climbed to an eight-month high on Wednesday in line with a bounce in global equities.

Banks were strong performers with the recent spike in U.S. Treasury yields boosting their Wall Street financial sector peers.

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group rose 1.4 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group added 1.6 percent and Mizuho Financial Group 8411.T climbed 1.26 percent.

Insurers also rose, with Tokio Marine Holdings advancing 0.5 percent, Sompo Holdings gaining 1.2 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings rising 1.7 percent.

Daiwa Securities Group was up 1.3 percent and Nomura Holdings added 1.7 percent.

Other gainers included Nintendo Co, which rose 4.8 percent after launching its paid Nintendo Switch Online gaming platform on Wednesday.

Nishimatsuya Chain Co sank 4 percent after the retailer of child and maternity clothing and goods cut its net profit forecast for the six months through August to 2.06 billion yen ($18.37 million) from 2.82 billion yen.

The broader Topix added 0.11 percent to 1,787.60. ($1 = 112.1500 yen) (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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