Tokyo stocks close higher with improved sentiment

Tokyo stocks closed higher on Monday as investors refocused on sound corporate earnings, helped by optimism about trade, and bought back tech shares after a sharp fall late last week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.65 percent or 140.82 points to 21,821.16 while the broader Topix index was up 0.51 percent or 8.31 points at 1,637.61.

Investors in Tokyo took heart from hopeful comments on trade from US President Donald Trump last week “to buy shares in companies with brisk earnings”, said Tsuyoshi Nomaguchi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“Investors also bought back high-tech shares after they plunged last week,” Shinichi Yamamoto, broker at Okasan Securities, told AFP.

On Friday, shares in Nvidia and other US semiconductor manufacturers plunged in after-hours trading due to concerns about their earnings, which triggered a sell-off in the Japanese tech sector.

Worries over the Italian budget persisted, Nomaguchi said, noting that if Rome “keeps refusing to accept the EU’s proposal on the budget, Italian long-term rates could rise and destabilise the financial market”.

Investors are also watching for further clues in US housing starts data due on Tuesday and Wednesday figures on the number of foreign tourists in Japan, he added.

The dollar fetched 112.77 yen in Asian afternoon trade, against 112.88 yen in New York on Friday.

In Tokyo, tech shares recovered as game titan Nintendo, which plunged more than nine percent on Friday, jumped 3.89 percent to 33,100 yen while Advantest gained 2.21 percent to 2,212 yen following a 7.56 percent drop on Friday.

But the banking sector lost ground due to a decline in US interest rates. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group lost 1.90 percent to 639.4 yen with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group down 2.10 percent at 4,183 yen.

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