U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 3 mins

Japan's Nikkei seesaws in choppy trade ahead of U.S. jobs data

* Nikkei up 0.2 pct; Topix flat

* Investors await delayed US Sept payroll data

* Nikkei unlikely to top 15,000 soon - traders

By Tomo Uetake

TOKYO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average

seesawed on Tuesday morning ahead of a key U.S. jobs report - an

outcome eagerly awaited by global markets for clues on when the

Federal Reserve will begin scaling back its stimulus.

The payrolls data for September, delayed by the 16-day U.S.

government shutdown, will be released later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei added 0.2 percent to 14,716.23

in a choppy session after trading as low as 14,641.78. The index

closed at a three-week high of 14,693.57 on Monday.

SoftBank Corp, the most traded stock by turnover on

the main board, advanced 1.5 percent to a 13-year high, with a

trader saying that Google Inc's strong earnings bode

well for China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba . Softbank has a 30 percent stake in Alibaba.

"While institutional investors are sitting on the sideline

waiting for the U.S. data, hedge funds and retail investors are

actively trading mid-caps and small-caps," said Mitsushige

Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.

Many analysts expect the U.S. central bank to delay

unwinding the $85 billion-a-month programme given the government

shutdown and the possibility of another bitter U.S. budget fight

between Democrats and Republicans early next year.

Some traders said the upcoming U.S. payrolls data for

September is unlikely to dispel uncertainties on the Fed's

policy given that the data does not shed light on the impact of

a government shutdown.

"Until we see October payrolls data in November and get

conviction that the Fed's tapering will be next year, the Nikkei

is unlikely to rise above 15,000," said Ichiyoshi's Akino.

The broader Topix was flat at 1,212.37 in relatively

light trade, with volume at 33.1 percent of its full daily

average for the past 90 trading days.

The market is supported by expectations of strong earnings

results on the back of a recovery in the Japanese economy.

Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co Ltd rose 1.5 percent

after the company boosted its earning estimates on Monday,

citing strong sales.

But market players also said some shares fell in the past

few sessions even after solid earning results, pointing to risk

investors expectations may have gone a bit too high.

Toyota Motor Co rose 1.0 percent while Fuji Heavy

Industries fell 1.2 percent after Barclays put an

'overweight' rating on the former and an 'underweight' on the


The sea transport sector subindex fell 1.4 percent

on profit-taking and was the worst sectoral performer on the

Topix, giving up some of the 3.1 percent rise in the previous

three sessions.