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Japan's Nikkei ticks higher before earnings finale, US CPI

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Updates with closing prices

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) -Japan's Nikkei share average ticked higher on Tuesday in largely directionless trade, as investors braced for the finale of the local earnings season and the release of closely watched U.S. inflation figures the following day.

The Nikkei .N225 finished the day up 0.46% at 38,356.06, with 125 of its 225 components rising versus 100 that fell, following a relatively calm session. The broader Topix .TOPX rose 0.25%.

Earnings produced some stand-out winners and losers, including heavyweight startup investor SoftBank Group 9984.T, which rallied 4.34% to make it the Nikkei's biggest support.

Furukawa Electric 5801.T surged almost 19% to pace advancers, while refiner ENEOS Holdings 5020.T jumped more than 10% after reporting results during the afternoon session.

At the other end, construction company Kajima 1812.T and chemical company Tosoh Corp 4042.T were the two leading decliners, each sliding close to 9%.

Some 600 companies report over the course of Tuesday, and about the same number report Wednesday, when the current earnings season largely comes to a close.

"There are a lot of individual drivers, but unfortunately none that give an overall direction to the market," Kazuo Kamitani, an equities strategist at Nomura Securities said.

Without additional catalysts, the Nikkei will fluctuate narrowly between the five- and 25-day moving averages at around 38,170 and 38,450 respectively, Kamitani projected.

Daiwa Securities 8601.T was another notable loser on Tuesday, dropping 6.82% on news that it would invest 51.9 billion yen ($331.78 million) in Aozora Bank 8304.T, making it the biggest shareholder. Aozora Bank shares eased 0.91%.

Drugmaker Shionogi 4507.T fell more than 4% after saying its COVID treatment pill failed in a trial to show a statistically significant reduction in symptoms.

Peer Chugai Pharmaceutical 4519.T lost 3.38% following a successful trial of a rival haemophilia treatment from Novo Nordisk NOVOb.CO.

($1 = 156.4300 yen)

Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mrigank Dhaniwala


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