Japan shares end higher as U.S. stocks rebound, presidential debate eyed

TOKYO, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed at a seven-month high on Tuesday, tracking U.S. stocks that rose overnight after investors sought to buy beaten-down names after a sharp sell-off last week, with eyes on the Trump-Biden presidential debate.

The Nikkei 225 Index erased early losses and ended 0.12% higher at 23,539.10, the highest since Feb. 20. However, the broader Topix fell 0.23% to 1,658.10.

Japanese stocks had opened lower after telecom major NTT said it was eyeing a bid to take complete ownership of its mobile unit NTT Docomo in a tender offer that could be worth around 4 trillion yen ($38 billion).

The potential deal hit shares of NTT and rival mobile carriers, but investors started to buy shares of other companies in the communications sector, which helped the broader market turn around.

The focus is now on the first debate in the U.S. presidential election between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden later in the day.

“There is some cautious optimism about the U.S. economy, but the biggest question that equities face is who emerges with the advantage from the presidential debate,” said Kiyoshi Ishigane, chief fund manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management.

The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names were NTT Docomo Inc which rose 15.78% to its daily limit, followed by electronics maker Keyence Corp gaining 3.68%.

NTT’s shares fell 2.58% due to worries about the cost of the acquisition.

Rival mobile carriers KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp both fell by 4.14% as the tender offer could increase pressure to lower mobile phone fees.

There were 61 advancers on the Nikkei index against 160 decliners.

The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 1.14 billion, matching the average over the past 30 days. (Reporting by Stanley White; editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Uttaresh.V)