The Japanese stock market is trading lower on Friday with investors tracking cues from Wall Street where stocks ended weak overnight following a batch of disappointing economic data.
Shares from chemicals, non-ferrous metals, automobile, manufacturing and securities sections are mostly trading weak, while electric power, financial and insurance stocks are finding some support.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is currently trading at 9.543, down 45.4 points or nearly 0.5 percent from its previous close.
JFE Holdings Inc. shares are down 3.7 percent on reports the company may increase borrowing to invest in building mills. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding is down nearly 4 percent and Toshiba Corp is trading lower by about 3.2 percent.
Fujitsu, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Resona Holdings, Mitsubishi Materials and Fujikura are all trading lower by 2 to 2.8 percent.
Nippon Steel Corp, Suzuki Motor, Toyota Motor, Hino Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nomura Holdings, Nissan Chemicals, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Showa Denko KK, Japan Steel Works, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Advantest are also trading notably lower.
Among the gainers in the Nikkei index, Oki Electric Industry, Kawasaki Kisen, Sumco Corp and Mitsui OSK Lines are up 3 to 4 percent.
Marubeni Corp, Takara Holdings, Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui Chemicals, Sumitomo Corp and Nippon Sheet Glass are also trading notably higher.
According to data released by Bank of Japan, corporate demand for loans rose for the first time in two quarters in the January-March period, helped by robust growth among domestically focused non-manufacturers.
The diffusion index of demand for loans - the percentage of financial institutions reporting increased loan demand minus those reporting reduced demand - stood at plus 6, up from the minus 2 reading in the October-December quarter of 2011.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 81 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 81.65 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong are trading notably lower, while Australia, Shanghai and Malaysia are down marginally. Markets across the region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower on Thursday, weighed by a batch of largely disappointing U.S. economic data. The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but remained firmly negative.
The Dow dropped 68.6 points or 0.5 percent to 12,964.1, the Nasdaq ended down 23.9 points or 0.8 percent at 3,007.6 and the S&P 500 slid 8.2 points or 0.6 percent to 1,376.9.
Major European markets too ended on a weak note on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed just below the unchanged line, while the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index lost 0.9 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday, after some soft economic data from the U.S. once again set off worries about the economy. Crude for May delivery dropped $0.40 or 0.4 percent to close at $102.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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