July 14, 2017 / 3:20 AM / a year ago

Nikkei edges up, shares stay on track for weekly gains

* Investors grow cautious ahead of long weekend

* U.S. earnings and inflation data awaited

TOKYO, July 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up on Friday and remained on track for a robust weekly gain, though investors grew cautious ahead of a long holiday weekend.

The Nikkei index was up 0.2 percent at 20,144.82 at the end of morning trade. It was up 1.1 percent for the week.

Markets in Japan will be closed for a holiday on Monday and will resume trading on Tuesday.

Major U.S. indexes marked modest gains overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average edging up to a record close, as investors warily awaited earnings and U.S. inflation data.

The U.S. quarterly earnings season revs up on Friday with big U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all reporting results.

The U.S. core consumer price index (CPI) is forecast to have risen only 1.7 percent year-on-year in June after a similar gain in May. On a month-on-month basis, the core CPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent increase the previous month.

“The U.S. CPI figures will come out later, so the market is waiting for this,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

“Ahead of a three-day weekend in Japan, investors have no incentive to extend their positions,” he said.

Weighing on sentiment, market giant Fast Retailing Co saw its shares skid 4.5 percent after the owner of clothing chain Uniqlo reported a quarterly operating profit of 49.9 billion yen ($440.07 million) for the three months through May. That fell short of a 52.85 billion yen Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate based on estimates of six analysts.

Shares of industrial materials maker JSR Corp rose 3.1 percent. The company’s operating profit is estimated to have surged to 10 billion yen in the April-June quarter from 5.6 billion yen a year earlier, business daily Nikkei reported.

Shares of Japanese recruitment company Persol Holdings Co dipped 0.3 percent. It made a A$778 million ($600 million) takeover bid for Australian recruiter Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd PRG.AX, the target company said on Friday.

The broader Topix added 0.5 percent to 1,627.23, for a 1.3 percent rise for the week. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also added 0.5 percent, to 14,490.71, putting it on track for a 1.2 percent weekly gain. (Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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