Nikkei edges up to 7-week high on robust Wall St; Fast Retailing sinks
* Nikkei gains 0.4 pct, Topix up 0.7 pct
* Global risk-on mood underpins market after the Fed chief's dovish remarks
* Heavyweight Fast Retailing sinks
TOKYO, July 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average edged up to a seven-week high on Friday morning, buoyed by a record finish on Wall Street but a sharp slide in heavyweight Fast Retailing weighed on the broader market. The benchmark Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 14,530.56, a level not seen since May 24, in midmorning trade, after moving in and out of positive territory in the last hour. The broader Topix advanced 0.7 percent to 1,203.62. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's reassurance this week that the central bank will maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy for the foreseeable future has helped to calm investors worried about reduced liquidity, which has been a key driver of the recent global stock market rally. Fast Retailing tumbled 6.1 percent to a one-week low after Asia's biggest retailer disappointed investors by leaving its profit forecast for the year to August unchanged.
The stock contributed 83 negative points to the Nikkei and was the second-most traded on the main board by turnover. "Although investors are cautiously watching foreign exchange and Asian stock markets, the global risk-on mood is supporting the market," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management. "If the Nikkei can absorb the loss made by Fast Retailing today, I think the index may rise toward 15,000 next week ahead of the upper house election." Wall Street closed at record highs on Thursday as investors took comfort from Bernanke's comments that the U.S. central bank will keep a loose monetary policy for some time to lower the unemployment rate. On the day, the pause in the yen's rebound against the dollar also buoyed some exporters. Toyota Motor advanced 1.3 percent, while Nikon Corp and Daikin Industries rose 3 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. The yen was quoted at 99.14 yen to the dollar in early Asian trade on Friday, according to EBS data, after rising to a two-week high of 98.20 yen on Thursday. The Japanese equity market has seen volatile trading in recent sessions on worries about slowing growth in China and the prospect of the Fed reducing its bond-buying programme in coming months. Still, the Nikkei is up 40 percent this year, boosted by the Japanese government's sweeping stimulus aimed at pulling the world's third-biggest economy from two decades of stagnation.