Tokyo shares end higher on easing trade fears

Japan stocks pulled the Asian markets higher. (AFP pic)

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks ended higher on Thursday, boosted by signs of easing US-China trade tensions and robust Japanese economic data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.96%, or 216.71 points, to 22,821.32 while the broader Topix index rose 1.11%, or 18.70 points, to 1,710.02.

“There is a growing possibility that the US-China trade row will move in a positive direction,” said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

Reports on Wednesday said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had proposed a fresh round of trade talks with Beijing to tackle problems before the Trump administration slaps more tariffs on Chinese imports.

“At least for now, it’s a good sign. The worst thing would be not to talk anymore,” Sengoku told AFP.

Sentiment also got a boost from strong July machinery orders data, which showed a bigger-than-expected jump of 11.0% from the previous month, Sengoku said.

The market’s improved risk appetite lifted the dollar, which firmed to 111.42 yen Thursday from 111.25 yen in New York.

In individual stocks trade, SoftBank climbed 4.72% to 10,990 yen and Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing rose 2.86% to 56,870 yen.

Construction equipment maker Komatsu added 1.67% to 3,050 yen, while Nippon Steel gained 1.87% to 2,148 yen.

But Nintendo gave up earlier gains and closed down 1.53% to 38,740 yen.