Nikkei inches up as financials cushion slide in…

TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Japanese stocks eked out modest gains on Wednesday in choppy trade as strength in financials offset a sustained sell-off in construction shares amid a suspected bid-rigging scandal.

The Nikkei share average edged up 0.1 percent to 22,891.72 after trading in the red.

Financial firms took heart from higher U.S. yields as they invest in high-yielding products such as foreign bonds. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group advanced 2.1 percent and Dai-ichi Life Holdings rose 2.5 percent.

The construction sector slipped 0.7 percent and was the second worst sectoral performer, with Taisei Corp sliding 2.7 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the construction firm had asked rival Obayashi Corp to refrain from bidding on a project for magnetic levitation (maglev) trains.

Meanwhile, Japan Display Inc jumped 3.1 percent after Kyodo reported that it is discussing an investment of more than 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) from three Chinese panel makers including BOE Technology Group Co. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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