August 20, 2019 / 2:59 AM / a month ago

Nikkei inches higher; Apple suppliers, chip-related shares outperform

TOKYO, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Japanese shares edged up on Tuesday as investors tiptoed back into equities, amid signs of a slight easing of trade tensions between the United States and China and continued hopes for fresh stimulus moves by major economies.

On Monday, Washington extended a reprieve that permits China’s Huawei Technologies to buy components from U.S. companies by 90 days, to supply existing customers.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.4% to 20,642.72, while the broader Topix added 0.5% to 1,501.95 by the midday break.

On Wall Street, all three major stock indexes gained overnight, with Apple jumping 1.9% to provide the biggest boost to the Nasdaq.

This helped Tokyo-listed Apple suppliers, with Taiyo Yuden and TDK Corp rising 1.1% and 1.0%, respectively, and Foster Electric advanced 1.3%.

After speaking with Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook on Sunday, U.S President Donald Trump said the CEO “made a good case” that tariffs could hurt Apple, given that Samsung’s products would not be subject to those same tariffs.

Tokyo-listed chipmaking-related firms also got a boost after the U.S. Philadelphia semiconductor index climbed 1.9% on Monday as Huawei’s U.S. chip suppliers, such as Micron Technology, rose.

Semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker Screen Holdings surged 3.8% and chipmaking equipment supplier Tokyo Electron rallied 1.1%. Semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest gained 1.4%.

Rate-sensitive TSE REIT index rose 0.5%, extending its winning streak to an eighth day to hit its fresh 12-year highs since 2007.

Hopes for additional stimulus helped sentiment after media reports said Germany is prepared to increase fiscal spending, and after the People’s Bank of China took steps to lower corporate borrowing costs by setting a new lending reference rate. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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