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Japanese Market Advances

The Japanese stock market is advancing on Friday despite the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street as investors shifted focus to the U.S.-China trade talks. Investors digested news that the U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators have resumed face-to-face talks for the first time in almost two months on Thursday.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 100.16 points or 0.45 percent to 22,144.61, after touching a high of 22,151.43 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Thursday after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged.

The major exporters are mostly higher despite a stronger yen. Sony is advancing almost 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are adding 0.3 percent each. Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is lower by 0.3 percent while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.1 percent. In the auto sector, Honda Motor is rising 0.4 percent and Toyota Motor is advancing almost 1 percent.

Shares of Akebono Brake Industry Co. are losing more than 2 percent after the auto parts maker announced plans to close six plants in Japan and abroad to rebuild its business.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is higher by more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is adding 0.3 percent.

Among oil stocks, Japan Petroleum is losing more than 2 percent and Inpex is down 0.6 percent after crude oil prices ended little changed overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Rakuten, Dena Co., Olympus Corp. and Chughai Pharmaceutical Co. are all rising more than 2 percent each.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said that overall nationwide consumer prices in Japan were up just 0.3 percent on year in August. That was in line with expectations and slowing from 0.5 percent in July - moving further away from the Bank of Japan's target range of 2.0 percent.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, rose an annual 0.5 percent - easing from 0.6 percent in the previous month.

Japan is also slated to release August figures for department and convenience store sales today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed for the second straight day on Thursday amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates following the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. The Fed lowered interest by 25 basis points as expected but indicated officials are mixed about whether the central bank should cut rates again before the end of the year.

While the Dow dipped 52.29 points or 0.2 percent to 27,094.79, the Nasdaq inched up 5.49 points or 0.1 percent to 8,182.88 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.06 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,006.79.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both rose by 0.6 percent.

Crude oil futures settled just marginally up on Thursday, despite moving up sharply early on in the session. WTI crude for October ended up by $0.02 at $58.13 a barrel.

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