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Tokyo stocks close slightly higher


Pedestrians walk past an electronics stock indicator at the window of a security company displaying the current rate of Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo on November 13, 2018. – Tokyo stocks dived more than three percent shortly after the open on November 13, with investors discouraged by a plunge in US shares on fears over demand in the tech sector. (Photo by Toshifumi KITAMURA / AFP)

Tokyo stocks closed marginally higher on Wednesday, rebounding from the previous day’s sharp drops on news of US-China trade talks and Britain’s announcement of a draft exit deal with the European Union.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which ended down more than 2.0 percent on Tuesday, edged up 0.16 percent or 35.96 points, to close at 21,846.48 while the broader Topix index was up 0.17 percent or 2.81 points at 1,641.26.

Tokyo shares fluctuated in afternoon trade, falling into negative territory at one point as Chinese stocks dropped after data showed Chinese consumer spending slowed in October.

Overnight drops on Wall Street were small, giving investors some relief, said Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

“Yesterday’s heavy selling (in Tokyo) was partly out of fears that New York would take another plunge but it didn’t turn out that way,” he told AFP.

Investor sentiment also picked up on London’s announcement of a draft Brexit deal, he said.

Investors were further cheered by news that US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss deteriorating trade relations on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit later this month, Sengoku said.

“The worst-case scenario is that the two nations wouldn’t talk, so their talking is not bad news,” he said, while noting it was too early to buy actively before seeing real progress.

Financial markets hardly moved on Japanese government data that showed the world’s third largest economy shrank in the third quarter, as widely expected, after a string of natural disasters hit consumer spending and exports.

The dollar edged up to 113.91 yen from 113.82 yen in New York on Tuesday afternoon.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 1.47 percent to 676.3 yen after the major bank announced a large share-buyback scheme.

IT investor SoftBank Group rallied 4.70 percent to 9,362 yen after reports said it would up its investments in co-working company WeWork.

Reports cited WeWork as saying SoftBank would put $3 billion into the company.

Petroleum explorer Inpex meanwhile fell 1.86 percent to 1,237.5 yen on sharp drops in oil prices.

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