Asian markets are trading weak on Monday with investors pressing sales following a weak jobs report from the U.S. Lingering worries about the financial situation in the eurozone and caution ahead of the reporting season are also contributing to the subdued trend in most of the markets in the region.
The Japanese market opened sharply lower with investors indulging in some heavy selling across the board amid concerns about the eurozone economy. A weak U.S. jobs data and the yen's surge against the U.S. dollar also contributed to the negative start.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which declined to around 9,535 after a gap down opening, was down 102.5 points or 1.1 percent at 9,585.9 when the morning session ended.
Among the very few gainers in the Nikkei index, Chiyoda Corp was up 1.5 percent. Seven & I Holdings, Asahi Kasei Corp, KDDI Corp, Kawasaki Kisen, Chiba Bank, Shimzu Corp and Konami Corp posted modest gains. Shares of Takeda Pharmaceuticals edged higher amid reports of a likely tax refund.
Nippon Light Metal is down more than 4.5 percent. Unitika, Daiwa Securities Group, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Heiwa Real Estate, Furukawa Electricity, Oki Electricity, Nikon Corp, Tosoh and Taiyo Yuden are all down 3 to 4 percent.
Sony Corp, T&D Holdings Inc., Mitsui Mining, Fujikura, Mitsubishi Materials, Showa Denko KK, Sumco Corp, JFE Holdings, Nomura Holdings, Advantest Corp, Nisshin Steel, Toho Zinc and J Front Retailing are also trading sharply lower, losing between 2.2 to 2.8 percent.
Among bank stocks, Shinsei Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and SMFG lost 2 to 3 percent. Bank of Yokohama and Aozora Bank drifted down by 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Shizuoka Bank and Mizuho Financial recovered well after early weakness and were trading flat at the break.
Among automobile stocks, Suzuki Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor and Hino Motors were down 2 to 3.3 percent, while Mitsubishi Motor, Isuzu Motors and Toyota Motor were trading lower by 1 to 1.5 percent.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Finance, Japan saw a current account surplus of 1.177 trillion yen in February. That beat forecasts for a surplus of 1.120 trillion yen after posting a shortfall of 437.3 billion yen in January.
The trade balance came in below forecasts at 102.1 billion yen, shy of expectations for 104.3 billion yen after showing a deficit of 1.381 trillion yen in the previous month. Imports jumped 11.1 percent on year to 5.145 trillion yen, while exports shed an annual 2.0 percent to 5.247 trillion yen.
The adjusted current account showed a surplus of 854.1 billion yen, blowing past expectations for a surplus of 650.0 billion yen after posting a surplus of 115.6 billion yen a month earlier.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 81 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 81.51 to the U.S. dollar. Against the euro, the yen rose to 106.18 before retreating to around 106.45.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. Shanghai, Indonsia and Malaysia are also trading weak. Markets in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong are closed for Easter Monday holiday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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