December 17, 2019 / 2:36 AM / 2 months ago

Japan stocks track Wall Street higher, hit over 1-year peak on trade cheer

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese stocks hit their highest level in more than a year on Tuesday, tracking a record closing high on Wall Street on renewed optimism over the U.S.-China trade deal.

FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

At 0153 GMT, the Nikkei index rose 0.29 % to 24,022.95, with the healthcare and communications sectors leading the gains. Earlier in the session, the benchmark index reached its highest level since Oct. 4, 2018. It is up 20.03% so far this year.

U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on Monday said a “phase one” deal was “absolutely completed” and reiterated comments made by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that U.S. exports to China will double in exchange for a reduction in U.S. tariffs.

Chinese officials have been more cautious, emphasising that the trade dispute has not been completely settled.

Investors are betting that the trade deal, which is expected to be signed in the first week of January, will finally de-escalate a trade row that had dragged on for more than a year, making it the biggest risk to the global economic outlook.

The de-escalation of the trade war is also a positive for earnings of Japanese exporters.

There were 126 advancers on the Nikkei index, against 91 decliners on Tuesday.

The largest percentage gainers in the index were chemicals maker Tosoh Corp up 5.21%, followed by oil producer Inpex Corp gaining 3.24% and healthcare firm M3 Inc up by 3.24%.

The largest percentage losers in the index were ad agency Dentsu Inc down 4.47%, followed by video game maker Bandai Namco Holdings Inc losing 2.19% and ship builder Mitsui E&S Holdings Co Ltd down 1.8%.

The broader Topix index rose 0.26% to 1,741.32, also reaching the highest since Oct. 10, 2018.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.51 billion, compared to the average of 1.24 billion in the past 30 days.

Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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