Japan's Nikkei ekes out small gains, SoftBank stars

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 | 1:17 AM ET

TOKYO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei eked out minuscule gains on Friday, easing off from an earlier charge to a six-month peak as domestic investors took profits, though mobile operator SoftBank Corp outperformed on news of hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb taking a stake. The Nikkei ended 0.1 percent higher at 15,381.72, and gained 1.4 percent for the week after a 7.7 percent jump last week - its biggest one-week gain in four years.

Index heavyweight SoftBank climbed 2.3 percent to a 13-year high after Loeb on Thursday disclosed a $1 billion-plus stake in the Japanese mobile operator. It was the top-weighted gainer in the Nikkei and the most traded stock on the main board. Fast Retailing Co Ltd, which has the biggest weighting in the Nikkei, shed 0.8 percent as investors pocketed some of the recent sharp gains. Still, Fast Retailing was up 3.4 percent this week, adding to last week's 16.3 percent rally. The stock is up 68.5 percent this year, sharply outpacing a 48 percent rise in the Nikkei. The broader Topix index closed up 0.2 percent at 1,248.57, with 3.04 billion shares changing hands, hitting a one-week high.

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