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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street as investors watched for new developments on the U.S.-China trade front. China is reportedly continuing to press the U.S. to remove tariffs on about $125 billion worth of Chinese goods imposed in September.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 33.96 points or 0.15 percent to 23,285.95, after rising to a high of 23,352.56 in early trades.

The major exporters are mostly on a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.2 percent, Canon is adding 0.5 percent and Panasonic is rising 0.6 percent, while Sony is down 0.5 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is lower by 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is adding 0.5 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is up 0.2 percent and Honda Motor is adding 0.3 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is rising more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is declining 0.2 percent, while Inpex is higher by 0.6 percent after crude oil prices extended gains overnight.

Among the major gainers, Nichirei Corp. and Maruha Nichiro Corp. are gaining more than 5 percent each, while Oji Holdings is advancing more than 4 percent.

On the flip side, Asahi Group is losing more than 6 percent, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone is lower by 5 percent, and Z Holdings is declining almost 5 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan will on Wednesday release the minutes from its September 19 monetary policy meeting. At the meeting, the Policy Board of the BoJ voted 7-2 to maintain the interest rate at -0.1 percent on current accounts that financial institutions maintain at the bank.

Japan also will see final October numbers for the services and composite PMIs from Jibun Bank.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 109 yen-range on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Tuesday after seeing early strength amid continued optimism that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will sign phase one of an agreement sometime this month. As part of the deal, the U.S. is likely to scrap tariffs on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports currently set to take effect on December 15. Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, as traders wait for more concrete developments before continuing to buy stocks following the recent run to record highs.

While the S&P 500 edged down 3.65 points or 0.1 percent at 3,074.62, the Dow ticked up 30.52 points or 0.1 percent to 27,492.63 and the Nasdaq inched up 1.48 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 8,434.68.

The major European markets showed modest moves to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices extended recent gains on Tuesday amid continued optimism about the outlook for global demand. WTI crude for December delivery advanced $0.69 or 1.2 percent to $57.23 a barrel.

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