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Oil shares support Nikkei; Sony surges on hedge fund's break-up call


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* Nikkei has gained 0.9% on weekly basis so far

* Sony jumps 4% after Third Point calls on firm to spin-offchipunit

* Market focuses on FOMC

TOKYO, June 14 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei edged up onFriday, with oil shares rallying after attacks on two oiltankers in the Gulf of Oman stoked concerns of reduced crudeflows through one of the world's key shipping routes.

Sony Corp6758.T was in the spotlight, with the stockrallying as much as 4% after Daniel Loeb's activist hedge fundThird Point LLC called on the company on Thursday to spin offits semiconductor business and sell off stakes in Sony Financialand other units. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N23K1VE

The Nikkei share average .N225 tacked on 0.2% to 21,066.26in midmorning trade, after slipping into negative territoryearlier. For the week, the index is up 0.9%.

Nikkei 225 futures and options contracts expiring in Junewill likely settle at the price of 21,060.56, according toestimates by brokers. The closely watched settlement price,known in Japan as the special quotation, or SQ, is calculatedfrom the opening prices of the 225 shares in the Nikkei shareaverage on the second Friday of the month.

The official figure is due out after the market closes onFriday.

The mining .IMING.T and oil .IPETE.T sectors were topperformers on the board after oil prices surged on Thursday.Inpex Corp1605.T rose 1.3%, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co1662.T gained 1.1%, while Idemitsu Kosan5019.T surged 2.2%

It was the second time in a month tankers have been attackedin the world's most important zone for oil supplies, amid risingtensions between the United States and Iran. Washington quicklyblamed Iran for Thursday's attacks, but Tehran denied it wasresponsible. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23K1S2

"While there is strong demand in oil-related shares amid theoil sector's volatility, most investors are cautious abouttaking positions before big events later this month," saidTakatoshi Itoshima, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

He said investors are looking to next week's U.S. FederalReserve meeting for cues on a possible interest rate cut in thewake of mounting risks to trade and global growth.

Financial markets also remain on edge ahead of a possiblemeeting between U.S. and Chinese leaders at the G20 summit inJapan later this month, as trade tensions between the world'sbiggest economies showed no signs of letting up.

The gains in oil shares triggered buying in othercommodity-related stocks such as metal producers. MitsubishiMaterials 5711.T gained 1.3% and Mitsui Mining & Smelting5706.T jumped 1.8%.

The broader Topix .TOPX rose 0.2% to 1,544.93. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam) ((ayai.tomisawa@thomsonreuters.com; 81-3-6441-1875; ReutersMessaging: ayai.tomisawa.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))






This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics



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