August 23, 2018 / 2:46 AM / 8 months ago

Nikkei edges up on weak yen; Continental profit warning hurts autos

* Retail stocks outperform

* Toyota, Bridgestone, Denso among big losers

* Investors eye trade talks, U.S. Fed

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged up on Thursday after a weak yen supported overall sentiment, but a profit warning by Germany’s Continental dragged down auto stocks and tire makers.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.2 percent to 22,412.90 in midmorning trade.

Analysts said that investors are sticking to the sidelines amid Sino-U.S. trade talks and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole.

U.S. and Chinese officials met for the first time in over two months to find a way out of their deepening trade conflict, but there was no evidence the low-level discussions would halt a new round of U.S. tariffs due Thursday.

U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other central bankers will meet at Jackson Hole on Friday to discuss the root causes of stubbornly low inflation, slow wage growth and tepid productivity gains.

“Investors want to find out which direction the market will be taking, whether there will be changes in the momentum after these events,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

Auto shares, tire makers and autoparts makers weakened after German automotive supplier Continental AG nosedived 13 percent on the back of a profit warning.

Toyota Motor Corp fell 1.2 percent, while Nissan Motor Co dropped 1.3 percent, Bridgestone Corp 1.8 percent, Yokohama Rubber 2.3 percent, Denso Corp 3.1 percent and Tokai Rika 2.5 percent.

Gainers included discount furniture store operator Nitori Holdings, which jumped 3.3 percent after its August same-store-sales rose 0.7 percent. The result beat expectations and soothed investor concerns that the company would find it hard to post an on-year gain after a lofty 14 percent rise a year earlier.

Other retail stocks also gained ground, with Aeon rising 1.3 percent and Fast Retailing up 2.4 percent.

The broader Topix fell 0.1 percent to 1,697.47. (Reporting by Ayai Tomiswa; editing by Richard Pullin)

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