May 22, 2019 / 3:04 AM / a year ago

Nikkei rises as tech shares gain; soft yen helps mood

* Leopalace soars after Reno raises stake

* Suzuki falls on news of India antitrust probe on Maruti Suzuki

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei edged up on Wednesday morning as technology shares rose tracking their U.S. counterparts, while the country's better-than-expected machinery orders aided sentiment.

Since the White House added China's Huawei to a trade blacklist last week, several global companies have suspended business with the world's largest telecoms equipment maker.

The United States has temporarily eased trade restrictions on Huawei, however, to minimise disruptions for its customers.

The Nikkei share average gained 0.3% to 21,344.05 at the midday break, staying in a narrow 21,150-21,450 range.

"Japan remains a hostage to global macro issues and cannot really move until more clarity out of the U.S.-China trade talks," said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA Securities Japan.

He said current investor focus was now on talks between Japan and the United States scheduled for this weekend.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will visit Japan on May 24 to meet Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to accelerate trade talks ahead of a leaders' summit a few days later, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan said on Monday.

After a late-April meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump had said it was possible for the two allies to reach a new bilateral trade deal by the time he visits Tokyo in late May.

Japan's core machinery orders, regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, rose 3.8% in March, data showed on Wednesday, confounding expectations for a 0.7 percent decline.

Advantest Corp rose 1.6%, Murata Manufacturing added 1.6%, while Sumco Corp advanced 0.8%.

The dollar hit a two-week high of 110.675 yen during the previous session. In Wednesday Asian trade, the dollar was up 0.1% at 110.59 yen.

Leopalace 21 soared nearly 4% after filings showed that Reno KK raised its stake in the company to 14.13% from 12.56%.

Suzuki Motor Corp tumbled 4.9% after sources told Reuters that India's antitrust regulator was looking into allegations that Maruti Suzuki resorted to anti-competitive practices by controlling how its dealers discounted cars. Suzuki Motor is its majority owner.

The broader Topix rose 0.1% to 1,551.05. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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