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Japanese stocks rose to a one week high on Friday

2018-03-09 07:22 am | Resource: NEWS | No Views : 341

Japanese stocks rose to a one-week high on Friday, marking broader gains across Asian equities, with tensions over North Korea after US President Donald Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong-un, who could take place before May.

The news lifted sentiment, driving most sectors to the positive territory, but defense-related stocks, which rose when North Korea launched missiles last year, lost strength.

Asian markets were also supported by Trump's weaker-than-expected position on trade tariffs, easing fears of a trade war that kept the market on the brink for a week.

Trump pushed ahead with an import tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum on Thursday, but retreated from a previous "no exceptions" stance, exempting Canada and Mexico and offering to exclude other allies.

The Nikkei <.N225> was up 2.4 percent at 21,884.45 in mid-trade, its highest level since March 1, before cutting gains to end the market by 0.9 percent at 21,554.67, and the benchmark index has risen 1.8 percent so far this week.

"Japan's market sentiment was relatively weak when North Korea launched missiles last year, so the news that the two leaders will meet is very positive, at least in the short term," Hikaru Sato said. A senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

"But what we can expect from the meeting is still on the table." North Korea has a tough stance on its nuclear program and the market is still not fully convinced that the discussion will proceed smoothly "

Friday's winners included major stocks such as Fast Retailing, which rose 1.5 percent, SoftBank, 1.6 percent and Daikin Industries, up 2.3 percent.

Insurance companies were also bought, with T & D Holdings up 1.6% and Sompo Holdings up 2.3%.

On the other hand, defense equipment maker Ishikawa Seisakushu dropped 11 percent, Hawa Machin Firearms fell 11 percent and Shigematsu Works fell 8.8 percent.

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