July 4 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks closed higher on Monday,
supported by utility companies as the country continues to deal
with an unprecedented heatwave heading into July, although its
well-known department stores were among the worst performers.
Overall, investor sentiment remained muted due to the
widespread fears of a global economic slowdown, with trading
being slower ahead of Monday's Independence Day holiday in the
A wait-and-see approach is seen among investors and price
movements are limited because of the U.S. market holiday, said a
market participant at a domestic asset management firm.
The Nikkei share average ended up 0.84% at 26,153.81
after briefly dipping below the psychological 26,000-mark in the
The broader Topix gained 1.34% to 1,869.71.
The Nikkei logged a weekly loss of 3.01% on Friday, while
the Topix slipped 2.08%.
Overall, 179 of the Nikkei's 225 components made gains on
Monday. Three were flat, while 43 made losses.
Given the lack of factors to encourage buying, the market is
within the range of a rebound from the steep drop seen last
week, another market participant at a domestic securities firm
Utilities gained 4.11%, making it the best performing sector
on the Nikkei, with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc
Mitsubishi Corp soared 3.98% after having fallen
5.21% last week.
Technology giant SoftBank Group was up 2.96%, after
posting a weekly drop of more than 6%.
SoftBank-affiliated fund Fortress Investment Group was
reported over the weekend to have offered more than 200 billion
yen ($1.47 billion) to buy Seven & I Holdings' struggling
department store unit Sogo & Seibu.
Department store owner J. Front Retailing Co. Ltd,
however, tumbled 5.63% after it released sales data for its
Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores after market hours on Friday.
Fellow department store company Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings
lost 4.24% to join J. Front Retailing as the worst
performers on the Nikkei. Takashimaya was close behind,
KDDI Corp lost 1.67% after falling as much as 3.9%,
as the mobile operator experienced widespread network issues
over the weekend.
Euro STOXX 50 futures were up 0.96% before markets
opened in Europe. FTSE futures were up 1.1%.
(Reporting by Sam Byford and Tokyo markets team; editing by