TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged up on Tuesday as a slightly weaker yen boosted shares of exporters, but the broader TOPIX index fell as worries about U.S.-China trade friction and an escalation of violence in Hong Kong hurt sentiment.
The Nikkei index rose 0.07% to 23,348.86 by 0201 GMT. However, the Topix index fell 0.29% to 1,699.15, on course for its biggest decline in more than three weeks.
The yen traded near a five-month low versus the dollar, which tends to benefit exporters because a weaker currency helps export competitiveness and inflates earnings repatriated from overseas.
Excluding this factor, traders avoided taking big positions after U.S. President Donald Trump said there had been incorrect reporting about U.S. willingness to lift tariffs on China, which could make a resolution to a 16-month long trade war more difficult.
Traders are also watching Hong Kong. Riot police fired tear gas at a university on Tuesday, a day after a protester was shot and a man set on fire in some of the worst violence to rock the former British colony in more than five months of protest against Chinese rule.
There were 85 advancers on the Nikkei index on Tuesday against 130 decliners.
The largest percentage gainers in the index were industrial materials makers Nitto Denko Corp up 4.55% and Unitika Ltd which gained 3.98%, followed by electronics maker Alps Alpine Co Ltd up by 3.36%.
The largest percentage losses in the index were Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd down 13.01%, followed by Japan Steel Works Ltd losing 3.61% and processed food maker Ajinomoto Co Inc down by 2.47%.
Caution also ruled ahead of a speech by Trump to the Economic Club of New York later in the day as markets awaited any word on the Sino-U.S. ‘phase one’ trade deal.
The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board was 0.53 billion, compared with the average of 1.25 billion yen in the past 30 days. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)