The Japanese stock market opened on a firm note on Monday with investors picking up stocks, buoyed by a positive close on Wall Street last Friday and the yen's decline against the U.S. dollar.
However, stocks gave up early gains and the benchmark index Nikkei 225 drifted down into the red subsequently, as investors turned cautious amid lingering worries about the financial situation in Europe and on uncertainties about the near term outlook for the global economy.
The index, which declined to 8,775.4 from an early high of 8,837.8, is currently trading at 8,793, down 5.3 points from its previous close.
Real estate, pulp & paper, glass & ceramics and exporters started off on a firm note, but shed most of their gains subsequently. Electric power, marine transport and gas stocks are trading mixed.
Unitika Ltd shares are trading stronger by nearly 5 percent. Nippon Sheet Glass is up with a gain of 3.5 percent.
Shimzu Corp, Nitto Boseki, Nissihinbo Holdings Inc and Nippon Light Metal are up 2 to 3 percent. KDDI Corp, Bridgestone Corp, Konami Corp and Taiheiyo Cement are also trading notably higher.
Among the prominent losers, Yahoo Japan, Chiyoda Corp and Alps Electric Co are down 3 to 3.5 percent. Inpex Corp, Advantest Corp, TDK, NEC Corp, Ricoh Co, Mitsumi Electric and J Front Retailing are also down in negative territory with notable losses.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid-80 yen level in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 80.40 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading notably lower. Hong Kong is down with modest losses, while New Zealand and Malaysia are up marginally. Markets across the region ended lower on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks ended with moderate gains on Friday thanks to some hectic bargain hunting after the previous session's setback. However, the mood was generally cautious due to lingering concerns about the near term economic outlook.
The major averages pulled back off their highs going into the close but still ended the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow rose 67.2 points or 0.5 percent to 12,640.8, the Nasdaq jumped 33.3 points or 1.2 percent to 2,892.4 and the S&P 500 climbed 9.5 points or 0.7 percent to 1,335.
Major European markets ended lower on Friday. While the French CAC 40 index slid by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index dropped by 1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures charged back toward $80 a barrel on Friday, trimming steep losses from the previous session despite deepening concerns about the health of the global economy. Crude for August rose $1.56 to settle at $79.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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