The Japanese stock market is trading weak on Wednesday with investors taking some profits after recent gains. The weak close on Wall Street overnight and weak Japanese trade data are also contributing to the decline.
Financial, foods, insurance, steel and non-ferrous metals stocks are mostly trading weak. Precision instruments, electric power, retail and mining stocks opened on a positive note, but gave up most of their gains subsequently.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened around the unchanged line, is currently down 71 points or 0.8 percent at 9,086.
Dainippon Screen Manufacturing is down more than 4 percent. Dentsu Inc, Takara Holdings, Nippon Light Metal, JFE Holdings, Japan Steel Works, Panasonic Corp and Showa Shell KK are trading lower by 2.5 to 4 percent.
Advantest Corp (ATE), Toho Zinc, Matsui Securities, Nippon Yusen KK, NTT Data Corp, Mitsui Chemicals and Ube Industries are all trading lower by over 2 percent.
Mitsubishi Electric, Hino Motors, Nippon Steel, Nomura Holdings, Sumitomo Metal Industries, Toshiba Corp, Sony Corp (SNE), Sharp Corp, Shinsei Bank and Suzuki Motor are also trading notably lower.
Meanwhile, Showa Denko KK is gaining 3.7 percent, Unitika is trading 2.6 percent up and Mazda Motor Corp is gaining about 1 percent.
Softbank Corp, J Front Retailing, Chubu Electric Power, Nippon Express and Kansai Electric Power are up with modest gains.
According to data released by the Ministry of Finance, Japan saw a merchandise trade deficit of 517.38 billion yen in July - sharply below forecasts for a shortfall of 270.0 billion yen following the downwardly revised 60.3 billion surplus in June.
Exports plummeted 8.1 percent on year - also well shy of expectations for a decline of 2.9 percent following the 2.3 percent contraction in the previous month. Imports were up 2.1 percent on year versus forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent after shedding 2.2 percent a month earlier.
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 79.21 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea are trading notably lower. Australia, Taiwan and Shanghai are down marginally, while Malaysia is bucking the trend and trading modestly higher. Markets across the region had ended mostly higher on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks gave up early gains and ended moderately lower on Tuesday, with some traders taking some profits after recent strength. A lack of major U.S. economic data too contributed to the market's fall from higher levels.
While the Dow ended down 68.1 points or 0.5 percent at 13,203.6, the Nasdaq drifted down by about 9 points or 0.3 percent to 3,067.3 and the S&P 500 dropped 5 points or 0.4 percent to 1,413.2.
Major European markets ended notably higher on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index moved up by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil ended at a three-month high on Tuesday amid speculation that the European Central Bank is stepping up efforts with further policy measures to tackle the eurozone debt crisis. Crude for September delivery gained $0.71 or 0.7 percent to close at $96.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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