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Tokyo: Nikkei ekes out small gains after Fed; Fast Retailing falls

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[TOKYO] Japanese stocks eked out small gains in choppy trade on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve hiked US interest rates, but signalled no pick-up in the pace of tightening.

The Nikkei rose 0.1 per cent to 19,590.14 points, after trading in negative territory earlier in the session.

Financial stocks languished as US yields fell after the Fed raised interest rates for the second time in three months, but did not flag any plans to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening. Exporters were also weak after the dollar fell against the yen.

Fast Retailing, the operator of Uniqlo clothing chain, fell 1.9 per cent after the Nikkei Business Daily reported that its rivals were planning to expand aggressively to new markets.

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The loss contributed a hefty 27 negative points to the benchmark index.

On the other hand, mining shares rose after crude oil prices extended gains from the previous session after official government data showed US stockpiles had eased from record highs. Inpex Corp rose one per cent and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co gained 0.8 per cent.

The market largely shrugged off the Bank of Japan's decision on Thursday to keep its monetary policy steady, an announcement widely expected.

The broader Topix gained 0.1 per cent to 1,572.69 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.1 per cent to 14,087.07.