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Tokyo stocks end nearly flat on profit-taking, US-China deal hopes

People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo, on Feb. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks ended almost flat Tuesday as buying on expectations for a U.S.-China trade deal was offset by selling to lock in gains following a sharp rise the previous day.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended up 20.80 points, or 0.10 percent, from Monday at 21,302.65. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange finished 4.56 points, or 0.28 percent, higher at 1,606.52.

Gainers were led by mining, oil and coal product, and land transportation issues.

Opening slightly lower, Tokyo shares moved narrowly around the previous day's closing level throughout the day amid the absence of fresh trading cues, while investors locked in recent gains after the Nikkei hit a two-month high on Monday.

Buying slightly gained the upper hand later on hopes for a trade deal between the United States and China, as the world's two largest economies will resume talks in Washington later in the week, brokers said.

"Investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of fresh developments in the U.S.-China trade negotiations and Britain's Brexit process," said Hiroaki Kuramochi, chief market analyst at Saxo Bank Securities Ltd.

Market players were also awaiting the reopening of U.S. financial markets following their closure for a national holiday on Monday, brokers said.

On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,049 to 976, while 104 ended unchanged.

Defensive issues, mainly focused on the domestic market, gained ground after lagging behind since early this year. Tokyo-based railway operator Tokyu rose 70 yen, or 3.9 percent, to 1,880 yen, while Chubu Electric Power climbed 46.50 yen, or 2.7 percent, to 1,754.00 yen.

SoftBank Group fell 340 yen, or 3.3 percent, to 10,035 yen after The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that key investors of the company's Vision Fund in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi complained about its investment in tech startups.

Honda Motor gained 11 yen, or 0.4 percent, to 3,014 yen following news reports that the company will close its car plant in Britain in 2022.

Trading volume on the main section fell to 1,066.05 million shares from Monday's 1,190.24 million shares.

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