November 8, 2019 / 3:13 AM / a month ago

Nikkei cools after hitting 13-mth peak; earnings, Sino-U.S.trade talks in focus

TOKYO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Japan’s benchmark stock index rallied to a 13-month high on Friday before paring much of those gains, as markets were buffeted by conflicting reports on how much progress has been made in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

Earnings at Japan Inc. also swayed sentiment, with the Nikkei average up 0.1% at 23,352.10, after climbing to as high as 23,591.09 - the highest point since Oct. 10 of last year. For the week, the index was on track to log a 2.2% gain for what would be its fifth consecutive weekly rise.

The broader Topix advanced 0.15% to 1,700.68, its highest in more than a year.

The Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday that the two countries had agreed to cancel the tariffs in phases, which was confirmed by a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Yet, in an interview with Fox Business Network that underlined the fluid nature of the talks, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro dismissed suggestions of a roll-back in tariffs.

“There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the existing tariffs as a condition of the phase one deal,” he said.

In Tokyo, there was still plenty for investors to focus on as Japanese earnings moved into full swing.

Shares of companies with solid earnings spiked. Terumo rose 13.4% to record highs after the medical equipment maker posted strong earnings in the three months to September.

Isetan Mitsukoshi jumped 11.0% after the department store operator posted upbeat quarterly earnings and announced share buyback.

Kirin Holdings gained 9.2% after the beer and beverage maker announce share buy-back totalling up to 6.8% of its shares.

Toyota rose 1.8% to hit four-year highs, helped by its release of a share buyback plan and estimates-beating quarterly results.

On the other hand, Shiseido shed 7.5% after the cosmetics maker cut its outlook on poor sales in South Korea and Hong Kong.

Rakuten dropped 4.2% as its quarterly operating profit was almost wiped out in the three months ended September as investment in its e-commerce and mobile units weighed on profits, with the value of its bet on ride-hailing firm Lyft also sliding further.

Mercari lost 17.3% after the internet shopping service operator’s earnings underwhelmed investors. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano & Tomo Uetake; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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