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Nikkei rebounds on short-covering; disappointing GDP caps gains

TOKYO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average edged up on Monday, taking heart from gains on Wall Street, although trade was choppy after weaker-than-expected economic growth data soured investor sentiment.

The Nikkei ended 0.6 percent higher at 14,393.11, snapping a two-day losing streak. Earlier in the session, the benchmark shed as much as 0.7 percent to hit a 1-1/2-week low of 14,214.60 following the gross domestic product data, before short-covering helped it erase losses.

Traders said many foreign investors were reluctant to take on large positions due to a U.S. federal holiday and as the Bank of Japan started a two-day policy meeting on Monday.

The broader Topix gained 0.7 percent to 1,192.05, with 1.96 billion shares changing hands, the lowest volume since Dec. 17.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, advanced 0.6 percent to 10,776.25.