April 4, 2018 / 6:38 AM / a year ago

Nikkei turns up in choppy trade; automakers gain after strong US sales

TOKYO, April 4 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged higher on Wednesday in choppy trade as some automakers rose after they reported strong U.S. sales numbers, helping offset the impact of a stronger yen.

The Nikkei added 0.1 percent to 21,319.55 after traversing positive and negative territory through the session.

The dollar eased against the yen in early trade, with the outlook clouded by worries that escalating U.S.-China trade tensions could take a toll on the global economy.

Tech shares continued to struggle, with Tokyo Electron dropping 2.7 percent, Advantest Corp falling 2.0 percent and TDK Corp shedding 2.7 percent.

Major automakers on Tuesday reported higher new vehicles sales for March on the back of a strong U.S. economy and big consumer discounts.

Honda Motor Co rose 1.1 percent after it said its March sales rose 3.8 percent, thanks largely to SUV and pickup truck sales.

Mazda Motor Corp gained 1.3 percent, Mitsubishi Motors Corp climbed 2.1 percent and Subaru Corp jumped 1.8 percent after marking respective increases of 35.7 percent, 21.7 percent and 5.9 percent.

The broader Topix added 0.1 percent to 1,706.13.

Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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