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Nikkei shaky as investors nervously eye U.S.-China trade dispute

TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was tentative on Monday as U.S. stock futures edged higher following a battering on Wall Street at the end of last week amid an escalating U.S.-China trade dispute.

The Nikkei was effectively flat at 21,568.42 after losing 0.36 percent on Friday, with markets around the region on edge as investors kept an eye on the latest developments in the tit-for-tat trade threats between the United States and China.

The broader Topix inched down 0.1 percent to 1,717.57, with 17 of its 33 subsectors rising.

Fish and forestry, electricity and gas, insurance and food sectors outperformed, while oil and coal products as well as iron and steel sectors underperformed.

U.S. President Donald Trump had upped the ante in the trade dispute with China on Thursday by directing officials to identify tariffs on another $100 billion of Chinese imports.

Trump, however, said on Sunday that China would take down its trade barriers and that the two countries would reach a deal on intellectual property. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said on Sunday he does not expect a trade war.

The S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.4 percent, pointing to a higher open for Wall Street shares later in the day after Friday's sharp losses. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team Editing by Shri Navaratnam)