Weak U.S. economic data and concerns about the financial situation in Europe pushed down stock prices in early trades in the Japanese market on Friday. The yen's surge against the euro too contributed to the weak start in the market.
With a few front line stocks finding some support at lower levels, the market regained some lost ground subsequently, but faltered again following a fresh bout of selling pressure.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which recovered to 8,488 after falling to 8,447, is currently trading at 8,455, down 87.7 points or 1 percent from its previous close.
Shares from electric power, transport, rubber, shipbuilding, automobile and financial sectors are mostly trading lower. Pharmaceuticals, precision instruments and non-ferrous metals stocks are also trading weak.
Hitachi Construction Machinery, Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Tosoh Corp shares are down more than 5 percent. Aozora Bank, Kansai Electric Power, Ebara Corp, JX Holdings, NEC Corp, Sumco Corp and Mazda Motor are all trading lower by 4 to 5 percent.
Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Japan Steel Works, Yahoo Japan, Nippon Yusen KK, Nippon Steel Corp, Advantest Corp, Mitsubishi Materials, Sony Corp, Sharp Corp and Nissan Chemical Industries are down 2.5 to 4 percent.
Hino Motors, Nissan Motor, Kobe Steel, Panasonic Corp, Mitsui Chemicals and Fujitsu are also trading sharply lower. Canon Inc shares tumbled to a new low for the year due to a weakening euro.
Among the stocks that are bucking the weak trend, NTT DoCoMo is up 2.7 percent and KDDI Corp is trading 1.8 percent up. Chiyoda Corp, Sony Financial Holdings, Fast Retailing and Softbank Corp are up 1 to 1.5 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.56 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. Hong Kong and Malaysia are down with modest losses, while Shanghai is up marginally. Markets across the region ended mostly lower on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended lower on Thursday despite staging a notable recovery after an early setback. The sell-off in early trading was due to a negative reaction by trades to a slew of U.S. economic data.
The Dow edged down 26.4 points or 0.2 percent to 12,393.4, the Nasdaq declined 10 points or 0.4 percent to 2,827.3 and the S&P 500 slid 3 points or 0.2 percent to 1,310.3.
Major European markets ended on a mixed note on Thursday. While the German DAX index dipped 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Thursday, on continued worries over global demand growth with some soft economic data led by disappointing GDP data from the U.S. and India. Oil prices were also impacted by a more-than-anticipated increase in U.S. crude stockpiles for the previous week and continued worries over eurozone debt problems.
Crude for July delivery dropped $1.29 or 1.5 percent to close at $86.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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