July 11, 2019 / 2:53 AM / 3 months ago

Nikkei edges higher as Powell emboldens doves; Japan Post tumbles

* Yaskawa Electric’s 1Q earnings in focus

* Japan Post hits record low

* Bandai untraded with glut of buy orders on inclusion in Nikkei

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, July 11 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei advanced on Thursday morning after the Federal Reserve chief cemented expectations of a U.S. rate cut later this month, while Japan Post Insurance dived after it admitted mismanagement in handling insurance policies.

The Nikkei share average was up 0.4% at 21,620.21 in midmorning trade.

Nintendo Co soared 3.8% and was the most traded stock by turnover after the company introduced Nintendo Switch Lite, a device dedicated to handheld game play.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reassured investors about the potential for an interest rate cut later this month. Powell said the central bank stands ready to “act as appropriate” to support a record-breaking leg of U.S. economic growth.

Analysts said that with Powell’s remarks confirming market expectations for a rate cut at the Fed’s two-day meeting ending July 31, investors’ attention switched to Japan Inc’s first-quarter earnings results.

“The market had expected a 30 basis U.S. rate cut. There was no surprise to that,” said Makoto Kikuchi, the chief executive of Myojo Asset Management. “Investors’ focus has shifted to Yaskawa’s earnings.”

Yaskawa Electric Corp, a motion control equipment maker with exposure in China, usually kicks off the earnings season in Japan and is slated to report its first-quarter results after the market close. Yaskawa’s result will be monitored closely by investors as it’s seen as an indicator of Chinese demand.

The insurance sector underperformed the market, after Japan Post Insurance Co plunged more than 6% to hit a record low after the company on Wednesday admitted mismanagement in connection with more than 90,000 insurance policies.

Bandai Namco Holdings was untraded with a glut of buy orders after Nikkei Inc said it will add the stock to the Nikkei 225 average.

The broader Topix gained 0.5% to 1,578.52. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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