The Japanese stock market is trading weak on Thursday with investors pressing sales at several counters following a drop in Japanese exports for the third successive month.
Some profit taking after Wednesday's strong gains, the sharp fall in oil prices and the yen's rise against the U.S. dollar are also contributing to the weakness.
Shares from precision instruments, automobile, financial and insurance sections opened lower and are still mostly trading weak. Retail, communications, marine transport and construction stocks are trading mixed.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which dropped to 9,165 in early trades, recovered to 9,210 subsequently. However, it faltered again due to lack of support and is currently trading at 9,191, down 41.2 points or 0.4 percent from its previous close.
Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Co. shares are down more than 4 percent. Tokyo Electron is trading lower by about 3.7 percent and Advantest Corp. (ATE) is down about 3 percent.
Sony Corp. (SNE), Unitika, Casio Computer, Nissan Motor, TDK Corp., Mazda Motor, Inpex Corp., Japan Steel Works, Fuji Electric, Pacific Metals, Nissan Chemical Industries, Fujitsu, Tokyo Gas, Canon Inc., Chubu Electric Power, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Olympus Corp are all trading lower by 1.2 to 2.4 percent.
Among the gainers in the Nikkei index, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. is up 5.5 percent, Aozora Bank is trading higher by 5 percent, Obayshi Corp. is up 3.3 percent and Sharp Corp. is trading 3 percent up.
Shinsei Bank, Nippon Paper Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc., Showa Denko KK, JFE Holdings, Fuji Heavy Industries, Seven & I Holdings and Japan Tobacco are also trading notably higher.
According to data released by the Ministry of Finance, Japan saw a merchandise trade deficit of 754.127 billion yen in August. That beat forecasts for a shortfall of 829.3 billion yen following the downwardly revised deficit of 518.9 billion yen in July.
Exports were down 5.8 percent on year, beating forecasts for a contraction of 7.5 percent following the 8.1 percent decline in the previous month. Imports fell an annual 5.4 percent, topping expectations for a decline of 5.5 percent after rising 2.1 percent a month earlier.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded at the lower 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.40 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are trading weak, while Shanghai and New Zealand are up with notable gains.
On Wall Street, stocks moved higher on Wednesday, although buying interest remained subdued due to lingering uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets.
The major averages gave back ground going into the close but managed to end the day posting slim gains. The Dow inched up 13.3 points or 0.1 percent to 13,578, the Nasdaq crept up 4.8 points or 0.2 percent to 3,182.6 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.7 points or 0.1 percent to 1,461.1.
Major European markets too ended higher on Wednesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index gained 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 index climbed 0.5 percent, and the German DAX index advanced by 0.6 percent.
U.S. crude oil extended loses to settle at a six-month low on Wednesday, after a weekly oil report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude stockpiles to have increased more than expected last week.
Crude for October delivery plunged $3.31 or 3.5 percent to close at $91.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
by RTT Staff Writer
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