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Tokyo: Stocks close higher as yen falls

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[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks closed higher on Tuesday, helped by an easing in US-China trade tensions and the yen's decline, as investors shrugged off a Japanese survey that showed business confidence falling again.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.59 per cent, or 129.40 points, to 21,885.24 while the Topix was up 0.96 per cent, or 15.20 points, at 1,603.00.

Investor sentiment got a boost from comments from the Trump administration denying the likelihood of potential new US restrictions on Chinese investment, analysts said.

"US stocks rebounded and the dollar topped 108 yen" in a positive development for Japanese exporters, Seiichi Suzuki, senior market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, told AFP.

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Wall Street dropped on Friday after US media reports that the White House was considering proposals to de-list Chinese companies from US stock markets, or block American investment in China.

Investors are now looking ahead to the resumption of talks between Beijing and Washington in early October, analysts said.

The US dollar held firm after rising in New York, changing hands at 108.24 yen against 108.10 yen in US trade Monday afternoon.

Currency rates hardly moved after the central Bank of Japan released a survey showing confidence among Japan's biggest manufacturers slipped for the third straight quarter.

The central bank's September Tankan report - a quarterly survey of about 10,000 companies - showed a reading of five among major manufacturers, a slight fall from seven in the previous quarter, but above a market consensus of a one reading.

"A drop had been expected and the actual decline was less than expected... it was only because economists had been overly pessimistic as usual," Mr Suzuki of Tokai Tokyo said.

In individual stocks trade, SoftBank Group gained 1.76 per cent to 4,315 yen after WeWork announced it would withdraw a plan to go public for now as it shifts into austerity mode.

Selling had hit the Japanese group, a major shareholder of the startup, due to WeWork's murky listing prospects.

SoftBank Group, which invests heavily in China as well, also benefited from the US denial of possible restrictions on Chinese investment, Suzuki said.

Automakers were higher with Honda up 2.50 per cent at 2,868.5 yen and Toyota up 0.41 per cent at 7,246 yen.

Nintendo jumped 2.24 per cent to 40,920 yen while Sony edged up 0.04 per cent to 6,350 yen.

AFP