Tokyo stocks open higher as traders eye US-China talks

Tokyo Stock Exchange. (AFP)
Tokyo Stock Exchange. (AFP)

Tokyo - Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday on gains on Wall Street and a cheaper yen, while investors await US-China summit talks amid speculation about a possible trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which has closed higher for the past three days, added 0.51% or 111.66 points to 22 064.06 in early trade while the broader Topix index was up 0.34% or 5.60 points at 1 649.76.

"The Tokyo market, encouraged by higher US prices and a weaker yen, will likely test higher prices," Okasan Online Securities chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a note.

But the future course of markets depends on the outcome of the weekend talks between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he added.

"Amidst the trade war headline frenzy and fading optimism regarding the Trump-Xi meeting is a stark reminder that no one, friend or foe, is spared the wrath of President Trump when it comes to his America first policies," noted Stephen Innes, who heads Asia-Pacific trade at Oanda.

"Indeed, the president's propensity to generate market-moving headlines kept investors walking on eggshells - even more so when he called out General Motors for their decision to close some US plants," he said in a commentary.

Trump threatened to cut subsidies to GM on Tuesday, a day after the US automaker's bruising layoff announcement that hits politically sensitive states in the US Midwest.

The dollar was firm against the yen in a positive move for Japanese exporters, trading at ¥113.81 against ¥113.79 in New York on Tuesday and the mid-113 yen range earlier on Tuesday in Tokyo.

In individual stocks trade, Mitsubishi Motors fell back 1.275 to ¥697, erasing the previous day's gain after it sacked Carlos Ghosn as chairman following after his dramatic arrest last week.

Nissan lost 1.26% to ¥963.4.

Messaging app operator LINE added 1.56% to ¥3 900 after surging nearly 13% on Tuesday following news it would launch mobile phone banking services with Mizuho Financial Group.

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