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Nikkei claws higher; Apple-related shares shine

TOKYO, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Japanese shares closed higher on Tuesday as investor sentiment improved after U.S. futures trimmed early losses, while Apple-related issues firmed ahead of an event of the iPhone maker later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 0.18% to 23,601.78, while the broader Topix gained 0.35% to 1,649.10.

Nearly two-thirds of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange settled higher, with airlines, insurance and real estate being the three top performers on the main bourse.

Both indexes fell in morning trade on lower U.S. stock futures and a firmer yen as investors looked past Wall Street’s overnight gains on the back of a renewed tech rally and expectations of a coronavirus relief package.

But the indexes bounced back as U.S. futures cut some of their losses, with e-mini futures for the S&P 500 last down 0.15%.

Also supporting the market was a surge in Apple-related stocks ahead of the iPhone maker’s event where it is expected to launch its latest iPhone.

Taiyo Yuden and Murata Manufacturing Co jumped more than 3.9% each, while TDK Corporation rose 1.83%.

Analysts said some investors were in a wait-and-see mode ahead of key earnings reports, including those of J.Front Retailing Co and Takashimaya Co due later in the day.

SoftBank Group Corp fell 1.73% on profit-taking, erasing early gains on news that the conglomerate’s Vision Fund was preparing to launch a blank-cheque acquisition company.

Elsewhere, machinery stocks were supported by data showing Japan’s core machinery orders unexpectedly rose in August.

Data also indicated that overseas orders, which are not included in core orders, rose at the fastest pace since April 2014.

Fanuc Corp spiked 4.23%, while SMC Corp rose 3.42%.

The Mothers Index of start-up firms fell 0.31%, snapping six consecutive sessions of gains. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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