Nikkei edges up in choppy trade, financials lose ground

TOKYO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average edged up on Wednesday in choppy trade as chip stocks and other exporters were boosted by steady dollar-yen levels, offsetting weakness in financial stocks such as insurers, brokers and banks.

The Nikkei ended 0.3 percent higher to 21,970.81, after moving in and out of negative territory.

The dollar rose 0.4 percent to 107.78 yen, having bounced from a 15-month low of 105.545 yen set on Friday.

Manufacturers of computer chip production equipment outperformed, with Advantest Corp rising 2.3 percent and Tokyo Electron up 1.9 percent.

Exporters Sony Corp rose 1.6 percent, Honda Motor gained 1.6 percent and TDK Corp was up 2.0 percent.

The insurance, securities broking and banking sectors were the three worst performers on the main board, which a trader attributed to "sector rotation in thin trade."

Dai-ichi Life Holdings tumbled 2.4 percent, Nomura Holdings dropped 1.9 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group slid 2.0 percent.

The broader Topix, however, edged down just 0.1 percent to 1,761.61. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)