August 28, 2019 / 6:53 AM / 20 days ago

Nikkei ekes out gains as investor caution drives defensive stocks

TOKYO, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Japanese shares posted slim gains on Wednesday, led by buying in defensives such as telecommunications and consumer-linked firms, though concerns about Sino-U.S. relations capped gains.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.15% to 20,487.22, drawing some support from higher Wall Street futures but still not far from seven-month lows of 20,110.76 touched earlier this month.

The broader Topix gained 0.11% to 1,491.31.

Financial markets have become concerned about protracted trade talks between the United States and China and growing increasingly sceptical both sides will arrive at an amicable trade deal in the near term.

“I think (U.S. President Donald) Trump will make a deal with China in the end. But it will take some time and for the moment, markets will remain shackled by anxieties,” said Tsuyoshi Shimizu, head of research at Asset Management One.

Telecommunication firm NTT jumped 2.6% while mobile carriers KDDI and NTT Docomo gained 2.5% and 1.9%, respectively. Cosmetics maker Shiseido rose 2.1%.

Topix Value rose 0.21% while growth shares dipped 0.1%.

On the main board, decliners outnumbered gainers by about three to two, despite gains in the main indexes as small cap shares fared poorly, with Topix Small falling 0.43%.

Machinery makers, one of the sectors that are most vulnerable to the Sino-U.S. trade war, were the worst performing sector, falling 0.8%.

Trade was slow, with volume on the main board at 1.616 trillion yen, about 30% below the average over the past year.

The Mothers index of start-up shares fell 1.41% to an eight-month low. (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team, Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Sam Holmes)

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