Headline indices of the Japan share market were higher for fifth straight session on Thursday, 19 July 2018, as investors continued value buying on tracking gains on Wall Street and in Europe market overnight. However, market topside capped as investors taking profits after a positive four-session run. Among TSE33 issues, 17 issues inclined, while 16 declined, with shares of Mining, Oil & Coal Products, Machinery, Marine Transportation, Banks, and Securities & Commodities Futures issues being notable gainers, while Electric Power & Gas, Pulp & Paper, Fishery, Agriculture & Forestry, and Retail Trade issues were notable losers. Around late afternoon, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index inclined 0.2%, or 40.43 points, to 22,834.62. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, rose 0.2%, or 3.28 points, to 1,754.49.

Shares of oil & coal products players were key contributor to the index gains after reports that Japanese oil distributors are preparing to suspend imports of Iranian crude oil in line with U.S. demands, stoking speculation the move would lift procurement costs and bump up oil prices. Inpex, Idemitsu Kosan, Showa Shell and Cosmo Energy were up as much as 0.5%.

Shares of chip equipment makers gained ground after ASML Holding, a supplier of equipment to the world's biggest computer chipmakers, reported forecast-beating second-quarter results. Advantest Corp and Tokyo Electron were up in a range of 3%-4%.

Defensive sectors such as utility and food lost ground. Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas were down in a range of 1%-2%.

CURRENCY NEWS: The Japanese yen was little changed against U.S. dollar on Thursday after briefly touching more than a six-month high of 113.14 yen. The US dollar was changing hands at 112.84 yen against 112.86 yen in New York on Wednesday.

OFFSHORE MARKET NEWS: US stock market closed modest higher on Wednesday, supported by the Powell reiterating that the U.S. economy was healthy, even though he warned that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to the global economic expansion. The S&P 500 index rose 6.07 points, or 0.2%, to 2,815.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 79.40 points, or 0.3%, to 25,199.29. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.67 points to 7,854.44.

The major European markets also ended higher on Wednesday. The STOXX600 index lifted by 0.6%, the German DAX index rose by 0.8% and the UK FTSE index rose by 0.7%.

COMMODITY NEWS: Crude oil futures rebounded to settle modestly higher on Wednesday, extending gains to a second successive session. According to the EIA, US crude inventories rose by 5.8 million barrels last week as oil production reached a record 11 million barrels per day. But a drone attack at a Saudi Aramco refinery in Riyadh by Yemen's Houthis supported prices. There were also reports that OPEC compliance with output curbs fell by 27% to 147% in May. Brent crude rose by US74 cents or 1.0% to US$72.90 a barrel. WTI oil for August delivery ended up $0.68 or 1% at $68.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Base metal prices were mixed on the London Metal Exchange (LME) on Wednesday. Zinc rose by the most in 12 months, up by 3.8% on speculation that China is taking steps to bolster bank lending. But aluminium was down by 0.6%.

The gold futures price rose by US60 cents an ounce or 0.05% to $1,227.90 an ounce. The spot gold price was trading near US$1,227 an ounce in late US trade.

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