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Tokyo: Nikkei closes slightly up following US-China deal

[TOKYO] Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index closed marginally higher in thin trade on Thursday following the signing of a trade agreement between the US and China that pushed Wall Street to record highs.

The Nikkei 225 index added 0.07 per cent, or 16.55 points, to 23,933.13, but the broader Topix index lost 0.14 per cent, or 2.34 points, to 1,728.72.

The Nikkei opened higher after investors cheered gains on Wall Street overnight after the world's two largest economies agreed on the trade deal after almost two years of bitter dispute.

"But since the signing of the US-China deal has ended, investors remained on the sidelines, looking for fresh trading factors," said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities.

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"Now investors are waiting for Japanese corporate results, which will be announced starting later this month," Mr Horiuchi told AFP.

The US dollar stood at 109.97 yen in Asian afternoon trade, slightly firming from 109.90 yen in New York on Wednesday.

Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said the agreement "marks a significant step in ending the frictions that have cast a dark cloud over global economic growth".

"The main benefit to the deal is that the US and China frictions are unlikely to worsen in the coming months, so we have reached a peak tariff of sorts, and this will allow traders to... focus on other things," he said in a note.

Among major shares, Sony rose 0.71 per cent to 7,936 yen, while Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing added 1.38 per cent to 65,210 yen.

Toyota added 0.19 per cent to 7,687 yen, but SoftBank Group dropped 2.14 per cent to 4,872 yen.

Sports shoe maker Asics ended up 2.52 per cent to 1,703 yen after jumping more than 5 per cent on reports that World Athletics may ban Nike's Vaporfly shoes in future competitions over fears they give runners an unfair edge.

AFP