Japanese stocks post modest gains helped by financials, shippers

TOKYO, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged up on Tuesday morning in choppy trade supported by gains in financial stocks, mining shares and shippers, with investors on tenterhooks ahead of this week's U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.1 percent to 22,949.88 in midmorning trade, after opening flat. The broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 1,818.16.

The market may stay directionless throughout the day as investors are expected to remain on the sidelines before the Fed's two-day policy meeting ends on Wednesday, at which the central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates.

Mining and shipping led the gains, with Inpex Corp soaring 2.6 percent, Mitsui OSK Lines surging 2.5 percent and Kawasaki Kisen advancing 1.7 percent. Shippers' gains were supported after Baltic dry index of freight charges rose overnight to hit its highest level since January 2014.

Banking, securities and insurance stocks were also in demand. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rose 1.9 percent, Nomura Holdings gained 1.8 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings was up 1.6 percent.

On the other hand, food companies languished. Condiment maker Ajinomoto Co shed 2.2 percent and soy sauce maker Kikkoman Corp dropped 1.4 percent. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)