Tokyo - Tokyo shares rose 0.18 percent by the close Wednesday as investors closely monitored Washington's budget deadlock ahead of a crucial deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index shrugged off earlier losses to add 25.60 points to 14,467.14, while the Topix index of all first-section shares ended flat, slipping 0.06 percent, or 0.69 points, to 1,196.78.
The Nikkei see-sawed in and out of positive territory for much of the day with early gains driven by hopes for some sort of resolution after intense partisan bickering in the United States.
But the latest efforts to end the two-week US budget impasse fell apart late Tuesday.
The Republican leadership failed to muster enough support for its own plans to avert default, with just over a day to raise the debt ceiling by the October 17 deadline.
Fitch ratings agency said it may downgrade Washington's AAA credit rating. And the US Treasury has warned that if Congress does not lift the $17.6 trillion debt ceiling by Thursday, it will lose its ability to borrow and could run out of cash to pay all its obligations.
“It is hard to take any positions until the debt issue is resolved,” Daiwa Securities chief strategist Junya Naruse told Dow Jones Newswires.
The Tokyo market won some support from a stronger dollar which bought 98.50 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 98.16 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon. A weakening yen is seen as positive for Japanese exporters.
SoftBank added 2.20 percent to 7,400 yen, one day after the mobile carrier and Japan's GungHo Entertainment spent $1.5 billion on buying 51 percent of Finnish game firm Supercell, maker of the blockbuster online strategy game “Clash of Clans”.
A report Wednesday said SoftBank was also in the final stages of talks to buy a majority stake in wireless device distributor Brightstar for more than 100 billion yen.
In response, SoftBank said the matter is “under discussion” but that “nothing has been decided at this point”.
Japan Tobacco fell 1.98 percent to 3,450 yen after the mass-selling Yomiuri Shimbun reported the company may hike cigarette prices by as much as 20 yen a pack, a move likely to weigh on consumer demand.
Copier maker Canon slipped 0.16 percent to 3,110 yen, Takeda Pharmaceuticals was up 0.42 percent to 4,705 yen, while cosmetics giant Shiseido rose 1.15 percent to 1,746 yen. - Sapa-AFP