TOKYO – Asian stocks edged up and the safe haven yen was broadly lower against the dollar on Thursday amid perceived progress on North Korea issues, although equity gains were limited after a tech-led retreat on Wall Street.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.05 percent.
Australian stocks dipped 0.1 percent, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.1 percent.
Wall Street closed lower after a rocky session on Wednesday as gains in consumer staples and healthcare were offset by a sharp drop in Amazon shares and a continuing slide in technology stocks.
“Fears of a global trade war have eased, although concerns still linger about the U.S. technology sector,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
“But equities in Asia will receive support from an easing of tensions regarding North Korea, with countries like Japan seeking a summit,” Ichikawa added.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping.
The yen, often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions, retraced its gains against the dollar.
The greenback was steady at 106.860 yen after it rallied 1.4 percent on Wednesday, pulling away from a 16-month trough of 104.560 set on Monday.
Global markets were shaken this month when U.S. President Donald Trump moved to impose tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing threatened similar measures. But fears of a full-blown trade war have eased on hopes that negotiations can bring a compromise.
The euro was a shade lower at $1.2305 after losing 0.75 percent on Wednesday.
Sterling was flat at $1.4077 after losing 0.5 percent overnight on data showing British retail sales fell in March for the first time in five months.
In commodities, U.S. crude futures rose 0.5 percent to $64.70 a barrel, partly recovering after dropping 1 percent the previous day when data showed U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week.