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Tokyo shares edge up as energy shares get OPEC boost

TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo shares edged up in lacklustre trading Tuesday morning, with energy-linked stocks getting a boost after OPEC announced plans for informal talks next month — hinting it could take action to boost the market.

Investors cheered news that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) called a meeting of member states next month, potentially signalling a more aggressive stance on low oil prices.

The Vienna-based group said it plans to meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria from September 26 to 28 to help stabilise the crude market.

The news lifted oil-linked shares in Tokyo, with energy explorer Inpex climbing 1.35 percent to 833.1 yen by the break and refiner JX Holdings up 0.73 percent at 370.1 yen.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index eked out a gain of 0.11 percent, or 18.55 points, to 16,669.12, after moving in and out of negative territory during the morning session.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares ticked up 0.20 percent, or 2.57 points, to 1,308.10.

On currency markets, the dollar changed hands at 102.37 yen, edging down from 102.45 yen Monday in New York but well up from below the 101-level seen last week.

A weaker yen is a plus for Japanese shares, as it boosts the overseas profitability of exporters.

“The yen has weakened but it s hard to assume that such a trend will stay intact,” Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist with SMBC Friend Securities, told Bloomberg News.

In share trading, videogame giant Nintendo soared 4.65 percent to 22,270 yen after reports the popular game Pokemon Go generated more than $200 million in worldwide revenue.

Among other gainers, mobile giant SoftBank jumped 2.03 percent to 6,122 yen while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing, a market heavyweight, ticked up 0.11 percent to 37,920 yen.