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Japan Stocks trade softer as trade talks drag on

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Headline indices of the Japan share market were tad lower in quiet trade on Thursday 07 November 2019, following a mixed lead from Wall Street overnight, as investors became antsy over lack of concrete progress after reports of delays in sealing a preliminary Sino-US trade deal. Around late afternoon, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 21.14 points, or 0.09%, to 23,282.68, while the broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.29 point, or 0.02%, at 1,694.16.

Total 19 issues of the 33 industry category of Topix index dived into negative territory, with Marine Transportation, Iron & Steel, Oil & Coal Products, Pulp & Paper, and Rubber Products issues being notable losers, while Precision Instruments, Other Financial Business, Mining, and Retail Trade issues were notable gainers.

Investors remain uneasy over the lack of tangible headway after the two sides announced a preliminary verbal agreement on trade last month and Washington held off on tariff increases. Wednesday reports that the United States and China might delay a meeting to formalize the agreement rankled investors.

News reports stated a meeting between U. S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign an interim trade deal could be delayed until December as discussions continue over terms and venue.

Trump may be unable to deliver on his phase one trade deal, raising the risks for the stock market of the mid-December tariffs being implemented.

A senior Trump administration official told discussions continue over terms of phase one of the trade deal and a venue for a meeting between Trump and Xi.

Sites in Europe and Asia have been suggested for the meeting, with Sweden and Switzerland among the possibilities, while Trump's suggestion of Iowa appears to have been ruled out, the official said. The official said China's latest push for more tariff rollbacks was not expected to derail progress toward an interim deal but noted that it was still possible an agreement would not be reached.

Shares of Softbank Group slipped about 0.6% after the Japanese conglomerate announced its first quarterly loss in 14 years on Wednesday. SoftBank Group Corp. on Wednesday reported its first quarterly operating loss of 704.4 billion yen after writing down the value of a string of marquee investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. The investment powerhouse also saw its group net profit halved for the six months to September, with net profit sinking 49.8 percent to 421.6 billion yen on an operating loss of 15.6 billion yen.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency in times of economic uncertainty, marginally appreciated against greenback. The Japanese yen traded at 108.83 against the dollar after strengthening from levels above 109 yesterday.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 09:57 IST