Business / Financial Markets

Nikkei rises for seventh day on optimism over U.S.-China trade

Kyodo

The key Nikkei stock index advanced Tuesday for the seventh consecutive session to end at a fresh high for the year, buoyed by optimism about a nearing agreement for a partial trade deal between the United States and China.

The 225-issue Nikkei average ended up 106.86 points, or 0.47 percent, from Monday at 22,974.13. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 14.25 points, or 0.86 percent, higher at 1,662.68.

Major gainers were led by consumer credit, nonferrous metal and precision instrument issues.

The Nikkei briefly topped 23,000 for the first time since last October, after U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that negotiations with China were ahead of schedule for the signing of the deal next month.

“Investors took his remark as a sign that the planned U.S. tariff hike (on $160 billion of Chinese imports) in December will be averted,” said Chihiro Ota, general manager of investment research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

An overnight fall in the yen against the U.S. dollar, and expectations that Japanese firms’ earnings have bottomed, also supported sentiment, brokers said.

“A significant number of foreign investors seem to have returned to the Japanese market and are helping support the recent rally,” Ota added.

But shares shed some earlier gains as the market’s focus shifted to a key monetary policy-setting meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve slated for two days from Tuesday, the brokers said.

While market participants widely expect a 0.25 percent rate cut, they will scrutinize Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech for clues about a further rate reduction this year, they said.

On the first section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,520 to 555, while 80 ended unchanged.

Exporters with heavy exposure to the Chinese market gained, with Hitachi Construction Machinery jumping ¥89, or 3.3 percent, to ¥2,798, Shin-Etsu Chemical soaring ¥345, or 2.9 percent, to ¥12,200, and Yaskawa Electric adding ¥95, or 2.2 percent, to ¥4,330.

Indonesia’s decision to ban nickel exports lifted metals suppliers, as an expected rise in the ore price would help boost their profits. Sumitomo Metal Mining surged ¥105, or 2.9 percent, to ¥3,711, and Mitsui Mining and Smelting was up ¥85, or 2.8 percent, at ¥3,175.

Trading volume on the main section rose to 1.32 billion shares from Monday’s 1.01 billion shares.

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