Tokyo stocks open higher as trade worries ease

AFP – Tokyo stocks opened higher on Tuesday as trade worries receded after the United States and Mexico announced a breakthrough deal to rewrite a North American trade pact.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.69 percent or 157.07 points at 22,956.71 in early trade while the broader Topix index rose 0.69 percent or 11.88 points at 1,740.83.

US President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto hailed the new trade agreement, which raises hopes the North American Free Trade Agreement can be salvaged after Canada rejoins the talks on Tuesday.

The proposed new NAFTA deal includes provisions on auto trade, tougher worker protections and a provision to review the deal every six years.

"Following the overall agreement between the US and Mexico, speculation that the US may reach a deal with China would be a tailwind for Japanese shares," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

In Tokyo, Toyota was up 1.79 percent at 7,091 yen after it confirmed that it will invest about $500 million into Uber as part of a deal to work together on mass-producing self-driving vehicles.

Denso rose 2.05 percent to 5,376 yen and Aisin Seiki was up 2.35 percent at 5,210 yen, after the two auto parts companies of Toyota group said they will set up a joint venture with two other smaller firms aimed at developing software for auto driving.

Other automakers were also higher, with Honda gaining 2.45 percent to 3,418 yen and Nissan advancing 2.16 percent to 1,061.5 yen in early trade.

Sony was up 1.28 percent at 6,249 yen and Panasonic was up 0.92 percent at 1,349.5 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow closed up one percent at 26,049.64.

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The dollar fetched 111.14 yen in early Asian trade, up modestly from 111.07 yen in New York.

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