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Japanese Market Trades Higher

The Japanese stock market opened on a firm note on Wednesday with investors picking up stocks following the lead from Wall Street, where the Dow surged higher overnight.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which soared to 9,582.7 in early trades, gave up some gains subsequently and is currently up 69.1 points or 0.7 percent at 9,537.1.

Stocks from steel, non-ferrous metals, banking and automobile sectors surged higher on some hectic buying in early trades. Precision instruments, real estate, retail and pharmaceuticals stocks are also mostly trading in positive territory. Electric power and foods stocks are trading mixed.

Nisshin Steel is gaining nearly 4 percent. Chugai Pharmaceutical, Sony Financial Holdings, Fanuc Corp, Sumitomo Realty & Development, Daikin Industries, Credit Saison, Konica Minolta and Asahi Glass are up 2 to 2.8 percent.

Mitsumi Electric, Advantest Corp, Sumco, Dainippon Screen, Kawasaki Kisen, Nippon Light Metal, Mitsui OSK Lines, Daiichi Sankyo and Mitsubishi Materials are also up with strong gains.

Shares of Ibiden rose sharply after Apple Inc. reported a whopping 94 percent jump in net profit in the January-March 2012 quarter.

Hitachi High-Technologies moved higher in early trades with investors picking up the stock following an announcement from the company on Tuesday that its net profit will likely jump 32 percent for the year ending March 2013.

Among bank stocks, Aozora Bank, Shinsei Bank, Chiba Bank, Bank of Yokohama, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and SMFG are up 1.3 to 2 percent, while Mizuho Financial is trading 0.8 percent up.

Automobile stocks Mazda Motor, Isuzu Motors and Nissan Motor are up 1.2 to 2 percent. Honda Motor, Hino Motors, Suzuki Motor and Toyota Motor are up with modest gains, while Mitsubishi Motors is trading flat.

Yahoo Japan, Ricoh, Japan Tobacco, Showa Denko KK and Kansai Electric Power are down 1 to 2.2 percent.

In economic news, Japan is scheduled to release final March figures for machine tool orders. Little change is expected for tool orders from the preliminary reading that suggested an increase of 2.4 percent on year.

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 81.41 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan and South Korea are trading notably higher, while Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are all trading marginally up. Australian and New Zealand markets are closed for Anzac Day holiday. Markets across the region turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Tuesday, with traders reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday. A mixed batch of economic data also contributed to the lackluster show.

The major averages closed on opposite sides of the unchanged line, with the Nasdaq posting a modest loss. While the Nasdaq ended down 8.8 points or 0.3 percent at 2,961.6, the Dow rose 74.4 points or 0.6 percent to 13,001.6 and the S&P 500 climbed 5 points or 0.4 percent to 1,372.

Major European markets moved higher on Tuesday. The French CAC 40 index jumped by 2.3 percent, while the German DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

U.S. crude oil futures settled higher on Tuesday. Crude for June delivery, gained $0.44 or 0.4 percent to close at $103.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

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