The Japanese stock market is swinging between gains and losses on Friday with investors treading cautiously ahead of the release of some crucial Chinese economic data. Lingering worries about the European economy, the yen's surge against the U.S. dollar and the euro, and the overnight weak close on Wall Street are also contributing to the wild swings in the market.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which jumped to around 8,745 after declining to 8,695 in early trades, is currently trading at 8,728, up 8 points or 0.1 percent from its previous close.
Dentsu Inc. and Tokyo Electric Power are trading lower by 5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. Ricoh Co, Nippon Yusen KK, J Front Retailing, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Nippon Light Metals and Mitsumi Electric are down 2 to 4 percent.
Showa Shell KK, Canon Inc, Nikon Corp, Toho Zinc, Showa Denko KK, Yahoo Japan and Nisshin Steel are also trading notably lower.
Among bank stocks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Aozora Bank, Shinsei Bank, Shizuoka Bank and Mizuho Financial are trading notably lower.
Sharp Corp, Olympus Corp, Chiyoda Corp, IHI, Japan Tobacco, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Fujitsu, Mitsui Chemicals and Nissan Motor are all up in positive territory, gaining between 1 and 2.5 percent.
In economic news, Japan will provide final May figures for industrial production. Little change is expected from the preliminary readings that showed a 3.1 percent monthly contraction and a 6.2 percent yearly increase.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 79 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.40 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are trading higher, while New Zealand, Shanghai and Taiwan are down marginally. Markets across the region ended lower on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks regained some lost ground after early weakness on Thursday but still ended the session in the red, as concerns about the outlook for the economy continued to weigh on the markets.
The major averages ended the day in negative territory but well off their worst levels of the session. The Dow closed lower by 31.3 points or 0.3 percent at 12,573.3, the Nasdaq drifted down 21.8 points or 0.8 percent to 2,866.2 and the S&P 500 dropped 6.7 points or 0.5 percent to 1,334.8.
Major European markets also ended lower on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index lost 1 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index declined by 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil futures ended higher following a late rally on Thursday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand growth forecast and investors weighed some crucial initial jobless claims data which showed first-time claims for jobless benefits dropped by 26,000 last week, the lowest in over four years.
Crude for August delivery gained $0.27 or 0.3 percent to close at $86.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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