Tokyo stocks close at two-month high on eased trade fears

TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed at a two-month high yesterday, tracking gains on Wall Street as fears about a United States (US)-China trade war and another US government shutdown eased.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.34 per cent, or 280.27 points, to 21,144.48, marking the highest close since December 17. The broader Topix index was up 1.06 per cent, or 16.73 points, at 1,589.33.

A rise of the dollar against the yen also encouraged investors to take more risk and buy up shares.

“The market continued to surge against a background of optimism for progress in US-China trade talks, as well as receding fears about another government shutdown in the United States,” said Okasan Online Securities in a commentary.

Rises of Hong Kong and Shanghai stocks helped fuel further gains in Tokyo through the afternoon session, the brokerage said.

But players refrained from making aggressive moves in the afternoon as they waited for releases of major global data, including US CPI later in the day and Japan’s October-December GDP data, slated for this morning.

Global investors have cheered as US President Donald Trump told reporters that he would consider extending the deadline for a trade deal with China beyond March 1.

“If we’re close to a deal, where we think we can make a real deal… I could see myself letting that slide for a little while,” Trump said.