TOKYO: stocks closed flat Tuesday in sluggish trading as investors retreated to the sidelines to await the outcome of a US-Japan summit expected to be dominated by trade tensions and North Korea.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 inched up 0.06 percent or 12.06 points to close at 21,847.59 but the broader Topix was down 0.36 percent or 6.24 points at 1,729.98.
Traders “want to see if the Japan-US summit will be a success”, Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe headed to the US on Tuesday for talks with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Investors are watching Trump’s remarks on US trade with Japan and its currency after the dollar slipped on the president’s Twitter statements accusing Russia and China of “playing the Currency Devaluation game”.
Japan is among the nations on the US watchlist of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies as the Treasury released a semi-annual report to Congress last week.
Any appreciation of the yen could hurt Japanese exports.
The dollar was trading at 107.02 yen against 107.11 yen in New York Monday afternoon.
“Investors are focusing on the yen’s move but the 107-yen level is still acceptable,” Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities, told AFP.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. rallied 0.69 percent to 433 yen on expectations that an anti-nuclear local governor will step down in a boost to restarting a major atomic power plant in his prefecture.
Nissan edged down 0.04 percent to 1,128.5 yen following a fresh report that it was in talks with its alliance partner Renault about a merger.
And SoftBank was down 0.33 percent at 7,970 yen after media reports that it was among several bidders for US publishing group Tronc.