January 14, 2020 / 2:20 AM / 10 days ago

Japan shares climb to 4-week high on U.S.-China trade deal optimism, weaker yen

TOKYO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose to four-week highs on Tuesday as markets resumed trading after a long weekend, with signs of goodwill between Beijing and Washington supporting risk assets ahead of the expected signing of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal.

The Nikkei share average advanced as much as 0.9% to 24,059.86, its highest since Dec. 17, by mid-morning trade, while the broader Topix climbed as much as 0.4% to 1,736.50, also its four-week high.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday said China should no longer be designated a currency manipulator - a label it applied as the yuan slid in August.

The yen plumbed a near eight-month low versus the dollar of 110.22 yen, providing a tailwind for Japanese exporters as a weak local currency boosts corporate profits when they are repatriated, while the yuan climbed to its highest since July.

The announcement came as a high-level Chinese delegation arrived in Washington ahead of the signing of trade agreement on Wednesday aimed at easing tensions between the two countries.

Tokyo-listed bluechip exporters Sony Corp gained 2.5%, Yaskawa Electric Corp jumped 3.2% and Tokyo Electron rose 1.8%.

Bucking the overall trend, Nissan Motor shed 2.6% to hit its lowest level in 8-1/2-years, a day after Renault shares hit six-year lows on worries that the French group’s 20-year cost-sharing alliance with Nissan was headed for a break-up without Carlos Ghosn.

Elsewhere, Ryohin Keikaku dived 19% after the operator of Muji stores forecast its net profit for the financial year ending February to fall 25.8%, worse than expected. (Reporting By Tomo Uetake; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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