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Tokyo stocks higher on buybacks

JIJI

Stocks went up on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, buoyed by repurchases after recent drops.

The 225-issue Nikkei average advanced 142.82 points, or 0.64 percent, to end at 22,362.55. On Tuesday, the key market gauge rose 20.73 points.

The Topix index of all first-section issues closed up 12.95 points, or 0.77 percent, at 1,698.37, after losing 6.73 points the previous day.

Despite a continued Wall Street rally overnight, the Tokyo market sank into negative territory in early trading on selling prompted by drops in U.S. stock index futures in off-hours trading following media reports that U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney pleaded guilty to the violation of the election campaign finance law, brokers said.

But both Nikkei and Topix soon took upturns and extended gains in the morning, thanks to the U.S. futures’ recovery, the yen’s weakening against the dollar and stability exhibited by Chinese stocks, they said.

In the afternoon, however, the market came to a near standstill.

“A wait-and-see mood grew after buybacks lost steam in the early afternoon,” said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.

Investors retreated to the sidelines ahead of U.S.-China trade talks seen starting shortly, the two economic superpowers’ imminent implementation of import tariffs on each other’s goods worth $16 billion and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech scheduled for Friday, brokers said.

“For a further rise, the Tokyo market needs more foreign players,” said Hiroaki Hiwada, strategist at Toyo Securities Co.

Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,564 to 475 in the TSE’s first section, while 65 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1.121 billion shares, from 1.067 billion shares Tuesday.

Automakers attracted purchases on a newspaper report suggesting that Washington will push back its decision on whether to place a 25 percent tariff on car imports. Major gainers included Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Subaru Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. gained 2.70 percent on its reported price hike plan for steel plates.

Other major winners included semiconductor-related Tokyo Electron and Sumco Corp., as well as nonferrous metal producers Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co. and Toho Zinc Co.

By contrast, Suruga Bank went limit-down on a media report that the bank’s improper loans amounted to ¥1 trillion.

Also lower were clothing retailer Fast Retailing Co. and drugmaker Eisai Co.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average added 100 points to end at 22,320.