* Benchmark Nikkei at highest since July 5
* Reports of U.S., China resuming trade talks improve mood
* Semiconductor stocks get fresh boost from TI’s Q2 earnings beat
By Hideyuki Sano and Tomo Uetake
TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Japanese shares rose to 2-1/2-week highs on Wednesday after a news report that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will meet in Shanghai next week prompted investors to buy back cyclical plays, such as autos, shippers and machinery makers.
The Nikkei share average rose 0.4% to 21,709.57, its highest close since July 5, while the broader Topix gained 0.4% to 1,575.09.
Bloomberg reported that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and senior U.S. officials will travel to Shanghai on Monday for talks with Chinese officials.
Shippers rose 1.0%, with Nippon Yusen KK climbed 1.5% while transport equipment makers added 1.1%.
Toyota Motor rose 1.4% while Honda Motor gained 1.3%.
Nissan Motor rose 1.0%, in line with its rivals, following the company’s plans to expand job cuts to more than 10,000 to help turn around its business.
Semiconductor-related stocks continued to climb higher after the sector got another boost from better-than-expected Texas Instruments Inc’s quarterly results.
TI posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, providing some relief that a global slowdown in microchip demand would not be as long as feared.
Sumco Corp jumped 4.5%, Advantest Corp shot up 3.9%, hitting 11 1/2-year highs, and Screen Holdings Co Ltd climbed 2.6%.
“Washington is also easing its ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co and the firm’s global shipment of smart phones looks pretty solid,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, chief strategist at Mizuho Securities.
“On the whole, investors are starting to think that the semiconductor market will improve next year, due to building of data centres and 5G etc and they are starting to buy semiconductor shares.”
Elsewhere, index heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp advanced 1.0% after the news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that shared office space manager WeWork, in which SoftBank Group invests, is looking to go public as soon as September, earlier than previously expected.
Japan’s June quarter corporate earnings season kicks off with Canon Inc, Nidec Corp and Shin-Etsu Chemical Co announcing results after the market close on Wednesday. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano & Tomo Uetake; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)