Japan's Nikkei share average slipped in subdued trade on Monday, pressured by concerns that Sino-US trade talks may make little headway this week, although moderate US jobs growth in September offered some support. The benchmark Nikkei ended down 0.2% at 21,375.25 points, while the broader Topix ended flat at 1,572.75, with trading volume hitting the lowest in two months.
High-level US-China trade talks are scheduled to resume Thursday and Friday, when Chinese Vice Premier Liu He meets US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington. Hours before the Tokyo market open, Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials were signalling they were increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by US President Donald Trump.
"Many investors have adopted a wait-and-see stance ahead of upcoming US-China high-level trade talks," said Kyoko Amemiya, senior market advisor at SBI Securities. Yen-sensitive exporters led the market lower, with Bridgestone, Denso and Canon Inc losing 1.8%, 1.7% and 1.4%, in that order. Rubber products and mining were among the worst performers in the Tokyo bourse's 33 sector subindexes, down 1.6% and 0.8%, respectively.
Elsewhere, Apple-related Japanese electronic parts maker Murata Manufacturing climbed 1.6% to become the third-most traded stock on the main board by turnover on expectations of strong demand for the iPhone. The Nikkei business daily reported that Apple Inc had told suppliers to increase their production of its latest iPhone 11 range by up to 10%, citing sources.
Wall Street stocks surged on Friday after moderate US jobs growth in September offered some relief from a spate of dismal economic data that week, with technology stocks led by Apple lifting the benchmark indexes.