December 13, 2018 / 2:38 AM / 5 months ago

Japanese shares gain on trade hopes; tech firms rally

* Nikkei up 0.99 pct, brushes 1-week high

* Technology shares lifted by rise in U.S. peers

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced on Thursday as investors cheered Wall Street’s overnight gains, thanks to signs of easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions, with technology firms getting a boost from a rally in their U.S. peers.

The benchmark Nikkei share average was up 0.99 percent at 21,817.62 for the second straight day of gains, touching 21,822.54 ealier - its highest since Dec. 5.

Global equities slumped at the start of the week on persistent concerns over tense Sino-U.S. trade relations. But investors have slowly stepped back into riskier assets in the last couple of days on hopeful signs of progress in talks between the world’s top two economies.

Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans, Reuters reported Wednesday, in the first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months - the latest sign of easing tensions between the two sides.

“The Nikkei is up, but the market is now awaiting a fresh round of incentives to test further highs. Sellers meanwhile are locking in profits, limiting the market’s rise,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

“Negative market sentiment does not last indefinitely. Trade conflict developments can be seen as an opportunity as they provide the market with incentives.”

Shares of technology-related companies advanced after the S&P technology sector, which is heavily exposed to China trade, gained overnight.

Panasonic Corp rose 1.4 percent, Rohm Co gained 1.65 percent and Canon Inc climbed 1 percent.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co surged 7 percent after a rating upgrade by Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

The decliners included entertainment facilities operator Tokyo Dome Corp, which sank 2.1 percent after reporting that its net profit fell 17.7 percent to 6 billion yen ($52.9 million) in the nine months through October.

Of 33 subsectors of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) all but three were in positive territory.

The broader Topix gained 0.69 percent to 1,617.74. ($1 = 113.4000 yen) (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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