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Tokyo stocks higher by break but Toshiba falls

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Tokyo stocks moved higher Monday morning after business confidence rose for the second straight quarter, though Toshiba fell after reports it may again delay releasing its earnings.

The Bank of Japan’s Tankan report — a quarterly survey of more than 10,000 companies — showed a reading of 12 among major manufacturers, rising from 10 in the previous survey.

It comes after a batch of government data on Friday showed inflation and factory output picked up in February while the unemployment rate dipped to a two-decade low.

Investors however remained cautious ahead of a summit later this week between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping — the first face-to-face meeting between the heads of the world’s top two economies.

“When it comes to risk sentiment… markets are likely to take their cue from the two-day meeting between President Xi and President Trump starting on Thursday in Florida with the US-China trade deficit at the top of the agenda,” Michala Marcussen, global head of economics at Societe Generale SA, told Bloomberg News.

The meeting comes after the billionaire US politician has repeatedly blasted Beijing for its trade policies and reluctance to bring pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

US stocks ended weaker on Friday after Trump signed an executive order tasking staff to pinpoint countries and goods responsible for his country’s nearly $50 billion a month trade deficit.

Trump, on Twitter, predicted that the meeting with Xi “will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits”.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.36 percent, or 68.11 points, to 18,977.37 by the lunch break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues was up 0.29 percent, or 4.38 points, to 1,516.98.

Toshiba bucked the trend, falling 4.55 percent to 230.4 yen after reports on Monday that the company may have to delay releasing of its earnings for the October-December period for a third time.

The troubled conglomerate has delayed formally reporting its earnings over problems at US nuclear unit Westinghouse.

Japanese financial regulators have given Toshiba until April 11 to publish results, which were originally due in mid-February.

In currency trading, the dollar stood at 111.34 yen compared with 111.31 yen in New York on Friday.


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