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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Monday in choppy trade despite the positive cues from Wall Street Friday, as investors awaited further progress on a potential U.S.-China trade deal.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 21.73 points or 0.09 percent to 23,325.05, after touching a low of 23,271.29 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Friday.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Sony is advancing more than 1 percent and Canon is rising 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is declining almost 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is higher by more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is rising more than 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and South Korean internet giant Naver said they have reached a basic agreement on a merger by October 2020 of Z Holdings, formerly known as Yahoo Japan, and the Line chat app. Shares of Z Holdings are gaining almost 2 percent.

SoftBank Group is up more than 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is down 0.3 percent and Honda Motor is lower by 0.1 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is up 0.2 percent and Japan Petroleum adding 0.1 percent.

Among the major gainers, Eisai Co. is rising almost 3 percent.

On the flip side, Fuji Electric, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Seven & I Holdings and DIC Corp. are lower by more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, Japan is scheduled to release third-quarter numbers for housing loans and October figures for condominium sales today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal following comments from White House officials. Adding to the positive sentiment, China has lifted a nearly five-year ban on imports of U.S. poultry in a goodwill gesture that could lead to more than $1 billion in annual shipments to China. Traders also reacted positively to a report from the Commerce Department showing U.S. retail sales rebounded by slightly more than expected in the month of October.

The Dow jumped 222.93 points or 0.8 percent to 28,004.89, the Nasdaq climbed 61.81 points or 0.7 percent to 8,540.83 and the S&P 500 advanced 23.83 points or 0.8 percent to 3,120.46.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices rebounded after early weakness and ended sharply higher on Friday as renewed optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal and hopes the OPEC might decide to deepen their supply cuts in the coming year helped ease concerns about outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for December ended up $0.95 or about 1.7 percent at $57.72 a barrel.

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