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Japan's Nikkei tracks U.S. stock futures higher; growth woes limit gains

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TOKYO, May 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average marked small gains into the midday break on Monday, buoyed by a rise in U.S. stock futures but investors remained wary about risks to global growth.

The Nikkei rose as high as 27,047.47 shortly after the open, just 25 points shy of reaching a one-month peak, but then faded to finish the morning session 0.5% higher at 26,872.01, near the day's low.

The broader Topix added 0.6% to 1,888.67.

"Without new trading cues, it's hard to chase prices higher," said a market participant at domestic securities company.

"It's Monday, so the pressure to take a wait-and-see approach is strong," added a market participant at a separate domestic securities company. "Most investors want to see how Wall Street starts the week."

S&P 500 E-mini futures gained about 0.8% on Monday, but after a volatile day for U.S. stocks on Friday that saw the benchmark ultimately finish the session flat.

Of the 225 stocks on the Nikkei's index, 141 rose, 78 fell and six were unchanged.

Financials led gains among sectors, climbing 2.08%, led by insurer Tokio Marine Holdings jumping 8.08% after its earnings forecast from Friday topped analyst estimates.

Peers Sompo Holdings and MS&D Insurance Group Holdings were the second- and third-best performers, surging 8.01% and 6.27%, respectively.

Energy and basic materials were the only Nikkei subsectors to fall, with the former retreating 0.42% and the latter slipping 0.14%. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Rashmi Aich)