October 10, 2019 / 2:34 AM / 7 days ago

Japan stocks come off lows as trade optimism improves

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks bounced back from early losses on Thursday, as optimism improved that the United States and China can scale back their trade war at high-level talks taking place later in the day.

At 0231 GMT, the Nikkei index was up 0.46% at 21,555.67, after shedding as much as 0.7% earlier in the day.

Japanese shares got a boost after the New York Times reported that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will soon issue licences allowing some U.S. companies to supply non-sensitive goods to Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

This could be seen as a concession to China that would make it easier for the two economic power houses to resolve their trade row.

Trump’s administration effectively blacklisted Huawei in mid-May, alleging it is involved in activities that compromise national security, a charge the company denies.

Analysts, however, caution that a resolution to the bruising year-long trade war is far from certain.

The South China Morning Post, citing unnamed sources, said negotiators from the two countries had made no progress in trade talks in Washington.

The United States and China have slapped tariffs on each other’s goods in a dispute over Beijing’s trade practices that has already dragged on for 15 months.

Without significant progress, the United States is set to hike the tariff rate on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30% from 25% next Tuesday.

In Japan, there were 103 advancers on the Nikkei index against 112 decliners on Thursday.

The largest percentage gainers on the index were Aeon Co Ltd , up 6.91%, followed by AGC Inc, which gained 2.63%, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd, up by 2.62%.

The largest percentage losers on the index were Haseko Corp , down 2.27%, followed by Nikon Corp, which lost 1.97%, and Sekisui House Ltd, down by 1.63%.

Asahi Kasei Corp’s shares rose 1.5% after Akira Yoshino, an honorary fellow at the industrial goods maker, won this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry.

Yoshino shared the prize with two other scientists for developing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which have powered the revolution in smartphones, electric cars, and a host of other gadgets.

The broader Topix index fell 0.07% to 1,580.66.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.55 billion, compared to the average 1.21 billion yen in the past 30 days. (Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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