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Tokyo's Nikkei inches index up as N. Korea fears ease

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Tokyo (AFP)

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index rose Monday as geopolitical worries ebbed after US and North Korean officials met to resume preparations for a summit between the leaders of the two countries.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.13 percent, or 30.30 points, to close at 22,481.09 but the broader Topix index was down 0.07 percent, or 1.28 points, at 1,770.42.

Investors welcomed renewed hopes for US President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after Trump appeared to do a U-turn 24 hours after cancelling the meeting.

US and North Korean officials met Sunday at a border truce village as preparations resumed for the summit, originally scheduled for June 12.

"Excessive worries receded as efforts resumed for a summit between the US and North Korea," Okasan Online Securities strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

"However active trading is not expected as there still remains uncertainty."

Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities, also said: "We still can't predict what will happen next before the summit. We need to watch the issue closely for now."

Monday trade was thin because of a lack of foreign investors as bourses in London and New York were to be closed for public holidays on Monday, analysts said.

Sony jumped 2.00 percent at 5,183 yen, Hitachi climbed 0.73 percent at 825.7 yen, while manufacturer of chip-making equipment Tokyo Electron rose 0.35 percent at 21,405 yen after the Nasdaq ended up in New York on Friday.

But the auto sector remained under selling pressure over lingering worries that Trump could impose tariffs of 25 percent on car imports.

Toyota fell 0.88 percent to 7,052 yen and Nissan was down 0.71 percent at 1,108 yen.

The dollar fetched 109.53 yen in Asian afternoon trade, up slightly from 109.40 yen in New York late Friday.

On Wall Street, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent to close at 24,753.09, and broader S&P 500 lost the same amount to end at 2,721.33.

But chipmakers lifted the Nasdaq by 0.1 percent to finish at 7,433.85.

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