Stocks opened lower in the Japanese market on Monday with a stronger yen triggering some selling in exporters and automobile stocks. Lingering worries about the European economy and a subdued close on Wall Street last Friday are also contributing to the market's decline.
Steel, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and insurance stocks are also trading weak. Shares from electric power, services and railway sections are finding support.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which opened around 9,071, is currently trading at 9,040, down 70 points or 0.8 percent from its previous close.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Sony Financial Holdings Inc., Pioneer Corp., Sumitomo Metal Industries, JFE Holdings, Canon Inc., Nippon Yusen KK and Mazda Motor are trading lower by 3 to 5 percent.
Nippon Steel Corp. and Mitsumi Electric are down nearly 3 percent. Sony Corp. (SNE), Bridgestone Corp., Sumitomo Chemical, Japan Steel Works, Toho Zinc and Konica Minolta are all trading lower by over 2 percent.
Mitsubishi Materials, Nissan Motor, Nomura Holdings, Isuzu Motors, Kobe Steel, Olympus Corp., Nippon Light Metals and Inpex Corp. are also trading notably lower.
Meanwhile, Yahoo Japan Corp., KDDI Corp., Aozora Bank, Nikon Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, All Nippon Airways, Shizuoka Bank, Softbank Corp. and Daiichi Sankyo are trading in positive territory, gaining 1 to 2.6 percent.
According to the minutes of Bank of Japan's August 8-9 board meeting, a member of the board said the central bank might need to come up with further measures for raising inflation expectations to exert an impact on the currency market.
"Japan's economy has not yet overcome deflation and thus it might be necessary for the bank to devise further ways to boost inflation expectations, such as exerting an influence on foreign exchange rates," the minutes, released Monday, reveal.
At the meeting, the policy board voted unanimously to maintain the target of the bank's asset purchase program at 70 trillion yen.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 78 yen range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 78.12 to the dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan are all trading notably lower, while Shanghai and New Zealand are bucking the trend and trading marginally up. Markets across the region had ended higher on Friday.
On Wall Street, stocks failed to sustain early gains and ended nearly flat on Friday, amid lingering uncertainty about the outlook for the markets.
The major averages finished the day mixed, although they all closed near the unchanged line. While the Nasdaq inched up 4 points or 0.1 percent to 3,180, the Dow edged down 17.5 points or 0.1 percent to 13.579.5 and the S&P 500 ended down 0.1 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 1,460.2.
Major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index closed just below the unchanged line, the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index ended up 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
U.S. crude oil rebounded to close higher on Friday, due largely to a slightly weakening dollar. Crude futures for November, the new front-month contract, gained $0.47 or 0.5 percent to close at $92.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile, after scaling a high of $93.84 a barrel intraday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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