JAPAN STOCKS: Japanese shares continue to stick to a narrow range in the final hour, amid lack of fresh buying incentives. Shares are being weighed down by semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics (6723) after the firm said it plans to slash around 30% of its workforce to shore up profits, also dragging down major shareholder NEC Corp (6701), now slumping 8.40%. Metals and insurers are weighing, with Nisshin Steel Co Ltd (5407) falling 4.81% to Y99, and MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings (8725) sliding 1.90% to Y1239. But electronics and oil stocks are supporting the benchmark, with television maker Sharp Corp (6753) rising 6.14% to Y415, and oil and gas company Showa Shell Sekiyu KK (5002) advancing 2.05% to Y449. The Nikkei share average is now gaining 0.11% at 8,590.02.