Nikkei rallies for day three thanks to boost from Fast Retailing, Nintendo

July 15 (Reuters)Japan’s Nikkei stock average ended higher for the third straight session on Friday in subdued trade, led by gains at parent company Uniqlo Fast Retailing and video game maker Nintendo, while fears of a economic downturn limited gains.

Nikkei stock average .N225 closed up 0.54% at 26,788.47, after trading sideways for most of the session.

The expanded Topix .TOPX the index fell 0.03%. The Nikkei ended the week up 1.02%, while the Topix was up 0.27%.

Euro STOXX 50 Futures STXEc1 rose 0.86% before markets opened in Europe, while futures on the FTSE 100 FFIc1 gained 0.39%.

Trading was halted ahead of a long weekend, with markets closed on Monday for a bank holiday.

“It’s hard to take aggressive action given the three-day weekend and the approaching earnings season,” said a market participant at a national asset management firm.

China’s release of lower-than-expected GDP figures did not appear to have had an impact on afternoon trading in Japan.

“GDP was bad, but it may have been thwarted by speculation about a stimulus response,” said Kota Hirayama, chief emerging markets economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

The focus is now on releasing a US retail sales report later today. Some market participants have said stock prices are likely to react negatively if the data points to negative effects from inflation.

Fast Retailing Co Ltd 9983.T was the Nikkei’s best performer, soaring 8.70%, after raising its full-year earnings forecast.

Nintendo Co Ltd 7974.T is up 3.16% on a proposed acquisition of an animation studio.

Utilities rose after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he wanted to have nine nuclear reactors in operation by this winter, up from five currently.

Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc. 9503.T was the biggest beneficiary, up 2.41%, while Chubu Electric Power Co Inc 9502.T gained 1.81%.

Despite the Nikkei’s overall gains, 155 of its 225 components fell. Concordia Financial Group Ltd. 1786.T was the worst performer, down 3.85%.

(Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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