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Japanese Market Trades Modestly Higher

The Japanese market is trading higher on Monday with investors indulging in some brisk buying amid hopes that the yen will continue to drift lower against the U.S. dollar.

Shares from oil, shipbuilding, services, warehousing and textiles sectors are mostly trading higher. Financial and chemicals stocks are also finding support. Electric Power, insurance, automobile and real estate stocks are trading mixed.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is currently trading at 10,170, up 40.2 points or 0.4 percent over its previous close.

Unitika, up nearly 4 percent, is the top gainer in the Nikkei index. Aozora Bank, Tokyo Dome, Dainippon Screen and UNY Co. shares are up 3 to 3.5 percent.

Shares of Marubeni Corp rose more than 3 percent on reports of a likely acquisition of a wind-farm company for about US$850 million.

Komatsu, Takashimaya, Ricoh, Fanuc Corp, Sumitomo Chemicals, Kawasaki Kisen, Nitto Boseki, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Minebea, Toyobo Co, Resona Holdings and Sumitom Heavy Industries are up 1.5 to 2.8 percent.

Chugai Pharma, JFE Holdings, Mizuho Financial, Kobe Steel, Trend Micro, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Credit Saison, Konica Minolta, Yokohama Rubber, TDK Corp and Isuzu Motors are also trading notably higher.

Kansai Electric Power Co. shares are down over 2.5 percent following a rating downgrade of the stock by Citigroup because of uncertainty on dividend payments for the next fiscal year.

Tokyo Electric Power, Tokyo Tatemono, Sumco Corp, Kirin Holdings, Nippon Electric Glass, Hitachi Zosen, Pacific Metals, Softbank and Nippon Steel are also trading notably lower.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid-83 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 83.45 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore are trading notably higher. Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan are up marginally, while Shanghai and New Zealand are down with modest losses. Markets across the region turned in a lackluster performance on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended flat on Friday after a choppy session. The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before finishing the session mixed.

While the S&P 500 crept up 1.6 points or 0.1 percent to 1,404.2, the Dow ended down 20.1 points or 0.2 percent at 13,232.6 and the Nasdaq edged down 1.1 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,055.26.

Major European markets moved higher on Friday. The German DAX index edged up by 0.2 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index both ended the day up by 0.4 percent.

U.S. crude oil futures snapped a two-day losing streak and closed higher on Friday, on a weak dollar and some mixed economic data amid concerns of inflation. Crude for April delivery gained $1.95 or 1.9 percent to close at $107.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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