The benchmark Nikkei average snapped its four-session losing streak on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday, aided chiefly by higher Shanghai stocks.
The 225-issue Nikkei average finished up 76.79 points, or 0.37 percent, at 20,593.35, after losing 68.75 points Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Topix index of all first-section issues turned down 1.27 points, or 0.08 percent, to end at 1,498.66 following a 0.70-point rebound the previous day.
After opening almost flat, stocks spurted in midmorning trading, helped by a rise in the Shanghai market amid a sense of relief growing after the People’s Bank of China set the day’s reference rate for the Chinese yuan at 7.0039 to the dollar, brokers said.
As the rate represented only a slight depreciation of the yuan, players took it as an indication that the Chinese central bank has no intention of guiding the currency considerably weaker than the dollar, they noted.
In the afternoon, both the Nikkei and Topix indexes lost steam amid a lack of fresh buying incentives.
“Concerns over the U.S.-China trade friction linger,” said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Capital Partners Securities Co.
Disputes between the two economic superpowers are likely to stay at the center of market attention until the next policy-setting meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve in September, with no major scheduled events in sight, he added.
Rising issues outnumbered falling ones 1,088 to 962 in the TSE’s first section, while 99 issues were unchanged.
Volume dropped to 1.187 billion shares from Wednesday’s 1.283 billion shares.
Semiconductor-related issues attracted purchases after trade minister Hiroshige Seko announced Thursday that his ministry has given the first go-ahead for exports of some semiconductor materials to South Korea since the Japanese government last month made tightened controls over domestic firms’ trade deals for such products with South Korean companies.
Those issues included chipmaking gear-maker Tokyo Electron, test device manufacturer Advantest Corp. and silicon wafer producer Sumco Corp.
Pharmaceuticals were also buoyant, with Daiichi Sankyo Co. jumping 1.68 percent to extend its winning streak to a 10th session.
Among other winners were clothing store chain Fast Retailing Co. and air conditioner maker Daikin Industries.
By contrast, financials, such as megabank group Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and insurer Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc., lost ground following a drop in U.S. long-term interest rates.
Construction machinery-maker Kubota Corp. plunged 4.12 percent due to weaker-than-expected earnings for January-June.
Also on the negative side were technology investor Softbank Group Corp. and automakers Subaru Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average gained 90 points to end at 20,560.