January 9, 2019 / 6:48 AM / 2 months ago

Nikkei rises for 3rd day on trade optimism; chip stocks underperform

* Nikkei recovers 13-week moving average

* Goldman Sachs report, Samsung profit estimate drag on chip firms China’s market rally supports sentiment

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei rose for a third day on Wednesday as signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks boosted confidence, offsetting weakness in chip-related stocks which underperformed on a Goldman Sachs report which forecast a tough year ahead.

The benchmark share average rose 1.1 percent to 20,427.06, recovering its 13-week moving average of 20,228.94.

The United States and China have extended trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day as the world’s two largest economies look to resolve their bitter trade dispute.

So far, officials from both sides have sounded optimistic, with President Donald Trump saying talks were going well. But people familiar with the discussions said the two sides were still far apart on some issues.

“As long as Trump makes efforts to communicate with China, investors take that as a sign of progress,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.

Such optimism lifted the broader market, with 29 of the 33 Topix subsectors in positive territory. Exporters attracted buyers, with both Panasonic Corp and Komatsu surging 3.2 percent, while Kyocera soared 1.5 percent.

Astellas Pharma advanced 2.7 percent to a three-week high after the company said its drug Evenity received a world-first approval in Japan for treatment of osteoporosis in patients at high risk of fracture.

On the other hand, chip equipment makers and silicon products manufacturers underperformed, with Advantest Corp sliding 2.5 percent and Sumco Corp ending 0.1 percent higher after falling as much as 3.2 percent at one point. Screen Holdings added 0.7 percent after shedding 2.2 percent earlier. The market’s overall gains helped some firms trim their losses and even end positively, analysts said.

Overnight, the Philadelphia Semiconductor index slid 0.49 percent.

Goldman Sachs forecast a tough year for chipmakers, particularly in the first half, while Samsung Electronics Co Ltd estimated a decline in quarterly operating profit for the first time in two years.

The broader Topix advanced 1.1 percent to 1,535.11. Advancing issues outnumbered declines ones 1,202 to 861. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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