June 7, 2016 / 2:47 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei up, strong yen limits gains as markets edgy over Fed outlook

* Nikkei has stayed below 200-day moving average for 6 months

* Pigeon jumps on rosy quarterly earnings

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, June 7 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged up on Tuesday morning but a strong yen weighed on sentiment after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen provided few clues on the timing of future U.S. interest rate hikes.

The Nikkei edged up 0.2 percent to 16,610.19 in choppy midmorning trade after earlier dipping into negative territory.

While Yellen remained upbeat about the overall U.S. economic outlook and said the Fed would hike interest rate, she gave no fresh hints about timing, and called last month’s U.S. jobs data “disappointing.”

Traders said that investors were cautious about the exchange rate as they waited on the Fed’s June 14-15 policy review.

“Technical signs indicate that investors are bearish,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a chief strategist at Mizuho Securities.

Over the last six months, the Nikkei benchmark index has traded below its 200-day moving average, a measure of a market’s long-term momentum. The 200-day moving average has shifted down since mid-December, and was at 17,769.17 as of Tuesday.

“Investors don’t want to chase the market higher in this kind of market environment,” Kuramochi said.

On Tuesday, mining shares outperformed after oil prices rose on supply concerns, with Inpex Corp gaining 3.8 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co advancing 3.4 percent.

Exporters were mixed, with Toyota Motor Corp shedding 0.2 percent, Honda Motor Co rising 0.3 percent and Panasonic Corp advancing 0.7 percent as the dollar slipped 0.3 percent to 107.31 yen.

Bucking the trend, Pigeon Corp jumped 15 percent to a six-month high after the baby bottle maker’s Feb-April earnings cheered investors. Its operating profit for the three month rose 3.8 percent on the year, as domestic business saw strong performance thanks to inbound tourism demand, offsetting the adverse effect of the strong yen and weak retail sales in China.

The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to 1,336.72 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.3 percent to 12,046.02. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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