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Tokyo stocks open higher as trade war worries recede

Tokyo, Japan | AFP | Friday – Tokyo stocks opened higher on Friday, extending gains on Wall Street following signs from the White House that President Donald Trump’s tariffs may be softer than initially feared.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.05 percent, or 224.38 points, to 21,592.45 in early trade while the broader Topix index advanced 0.98 percent, or 16.68 points, to 1,726.63.

The dollar fetched 106.39 yen in early Asian trade, up slightly from 106.12 yen in New York late Thursday.

"Excessive worries receded as President Trump has set exceptions for US allies, like Japan, in adopting tariffs," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary. 

Trump indicated he would be flexible toward "real friends," and during the signing confirmed Canada and Mexico would be permanently exempted if the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement is successful.

The US leader also added Australia to a list of likely carve-outs, as a "great country" and "long term partner."
But he singled out Germany for criticism, reviving a longstanding gripe that European NATO allies do not pay their fair share.

Investors in Japan, a key US ally in East Asia along with South Korea, were also reacting to the shock announcement that the leaders of the United States and North Korea were due to have direct talks.

Turning to individual shares in Tokyo, exporters were higher, with Toyota gaining 0.85 percent to 6,873 yen, Panasonic rising 1.76 percent to 1,640 yen and Sony trading up 1.24 percent at 5,444 yen.

But Kobe Steel was down 2.54 percent at 1,032 yen, after reports said it will promote a vice president to become the new chief executive after the current one announced his resignation over a data falsifying scandal.

 

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