Tokyo stocks close at two-month high on eased trade fears

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.34 per cent, or 280.27 points, to 21,144.48, marking the highest close since Dec 17. The broader Topix index was up 1.06 per cent, or 16.73 points, at 1,589.33. — Reuters pic
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.34 per cent, or 280.27 points, to 21,144.48, marking the highest close since Dec 17. The broader Topix index was up 1.06 per cent, or 16.73 points, at 1,589.33. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, Feb 13 — Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed at a two-month high today, tracking gains on Wall Street as fears about a US-China trade war and another US government shutdown eased.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.34 per cent, or 280.27 points, to 21,144.48, marking the highest close since Dec 17. The broader Topix index was up 1.06 per cent, or 16.73 points, at 1,589.33.

A rise of the dollar against the yen also encouraged investors to take more risk and buy up shares.

“The market continued to surge against a background of optimism for progress in US-China trade talks, as well as receding fears about another government shutdown in the United States,” said Okasan Online Securities in a commentary.

Rises of Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks helped fuel further gains in Tokyo through the afternoon session, the brokerage said.

But players refrained from making aggressive moves in the afternoon as they waited for releases of major global data, including US CPI later in the day and Japan’s October-December GDP data, slated for Thursday morning.

Global investors have cheered as US President Donald Trump told reporters that he would consider extending the deadline for a trade deal with China beyond March 1.

“If we’re close to a deal, where we think we can make a real deal... I could see myself letting that slide for a little while,” Trump said.

The comments came as the third round of trade negotiations were set to resume in Beijing to prevent tariffs more than doubling on US$200 billion (RM815.7 billion) in Chinese imports.

The US president, while not ruling anything out, also suggested his latest funding fight with congressional Democrats over border security would not result in another shutdown.

The dollar fetched ¥110.61 in Asian trade, against ¥110.48 in New York late yesterday.

In Tokyo, Sony surged 2.60 per cent to end at ¥4,980, and internet investor SoftBank Group added 4.92 per cent to ¥10,765.

Honda climbed 1.73 per cent to ¥3,001, while Toyota added 0.30 per cent to ¥6,625.

Nissan shed early morning losses and ended up 0.74 per cent at ¥938.3 after the automaker said it had slashed its full-year forecast.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day losing streak, soaring 1.5 per cent to end at 25,425.76. — AFP