Tokyo stocks advance on optimism over US-China trade row

(AFP pic)

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday thanks to optimism over US-China trade talks, with investors eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.

The Nikkei 225 index added 0.62%, or 133.65 points, to 21,584.50, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.69%, or 11.05 points, to 1,613.68.

Tokyo stocks had risen in early trade, tracking gains on Wall Street following the latest encouraging reports from the US-China trade talks.

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported “substantial progress” in a call between Beijing’s trade enjoy Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“Expectations of concluding a trade deal by the end of March disappeared, but their talks have not been broken off,” said Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato.

“Talks are going on. It’s not a bad factor,” Sato told AFP.

Trading was thin as market participants stayed on the sidelines as they eyed the Fed’s two-day policy meeting through Wednesday, analysts said.

Japanese exports declined for the third straight month, according to government data released 10 minutes before the opening bell.

The continued decline in exports “may prompt concerns that the Japanese economy may be slowing down on the backdrop of the slowing Chinese economy,” Daiwa Securities strategist Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi said in a commentary.

The dollar fetched 111.55 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 111.51 yen in New York on Friday.

In Tokyo, high-tech shares gained ground. Chip-making equipment manufacturer Tokyo Electron jumped 3.18% to 15,705 yen with Advantest up 2.13% at 2,440 yen.

Mobile and investment fund SoftBank Group rose 1.15% to 10,965 yen, and market heavyweight Fast Retailing was up 0.54% at 53,780 yen.