Tokyo’s Nikkei index closes at fresh 13-month high

A pedestrian walks in front of an electric quotation board displaying the numbers on the Nikkei 225 index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on November 6, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index closed at a fresh 13-month high on Wednesday on optimism over US-China trade talks.

The Nikkei 225 index, which logged its best finish in nearly 13 months on Tuesday, added 0.22 percent, or 51.83 points, to end at 23,303.82.

The broader Topix index was flat, edging up 0.02 percent, or 0.29 points, at 1,694.45.

Wall Street stocks held firm in record range on Tuesday thanks to rising hopes over US-China trade talks as American services sector data topped expectations.

The Dow mustered a narrow record for a second day in a row, while the S&P 500 fell slightly and the Nasdaq was flat.

“The Nikkei index rose after the Dow renewed a record on receded concerns over US-China trade talks,” Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a note.

Investor sentiment got support from reports that US President Donald Trump might remove or roll back some tariffs on Chinese goods, and cancel those planned for next month.

As risk appetite picked up, the safe-haven yen fell. The dollar was trading at 109.06 yen against 109.16 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon and 108.77 yen in Tokyo.

Rodrigo Catril, senior forex strategist at National Australia Bank, cautioned in a note that it was clear now that Washington will need to remove some tariffs in order to strike the first-phase deal with Beijing.

“But if China doesn’t give more concessions in exchange, President Trump runs the risk of being criticised as ‘going soft’ on China ahead of the election.”

In individual stocks trade, Fujifilm dropped 4.22 percent to 4.852 yen after soaring more than 6 percent the previous day on news that it will take 100 percent ownership of Fuji Xerox by buying Xerox’s 25 percent stake in the firm.

SoftBank Group was up 0.65 percent to 4,322 yen at the close, as investors braced for its announcement of April-September results.

After the market closed, the firm confirmed its first-half profit fell 50 percent, with losses of more than $6 billion in the three months to end-September alone.

Honda rose 0.29 percent to 3,031 yen while Nintendo fell 1.21 percent to 42,210 yen.

© Agence France-Presse