May 27, 2019 / 7:13 AM / 21 days ago

Nikkei edges up on hopes for Japan-U.S. trade progress, turnover lowest since 2014

* Trump-Abe news conference comments come after market close

* Market prices in U.S.-Japan talks

* Turnover lowest since Dec 2014

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged higher on Monday, when volume was low with U.S. markets closed, as investors awaited details from trade talks between the leaders of Japan and United States.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.3% higher to 21,182.58. Hit by intensifying U.S.-China trade frictions, the benchmark index has dropped 5% this month.

The broader Topix added 0.4% at 1,547.00, with only 901.6 million shares changing hands, the lowest level since April 22. Turnover was 1.47 trillion yen, the lowest since December 2014.

Index-heavy names such as Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group Corp advanced on Monday, up 1.3% and 1.7%, respectively.

Exporters were in demand. Sony Corp rose 1.2%, Subaru Corp gained 2.0% and Hitachi Ltd soared 2.0%.

In a joint news conference that started as Japan markets were closing, President Donald Trump pressed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to even out a trade imbalance with the United States and said he was happy with how things were going with North Korea.

Analysts said that the market had priced in that a solution on the main focus, tariffs on autos, would not come on Monday, while they remained optimistic about the developments after Trump tweeted earlier about progress in the Japan-U.S. talks.

“Since there is no big progress on trade this time, the market will soon focus on economic indicators from the U.S. and China,” said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief executive of Investrust.

Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs in his effort to cut trade surpluses with other countries.

“Great progress being made in our trade negotiations with Japan. Agriculture and beef heavily in play,” Trump had tweeted on Sunday.

“Much will wait until after their July elections where I anticipate big numbers.” (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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