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Japanese Market Extends Losses

The Japanese stock market is extending losses on Friday from the previous session following the flat cues overnight from Wall Street, while a stronger yen weighed on exporters' shares.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 82.13 points or 0.42 percent to 19,265.40, off a low of 19,173.53 earlier.

Among the other major exporters, Toshiba is losing more than 4 percent, Panasonic is lower by more than 1 percent, Canon is declining 0.6 percent and Sony is down 0.3 percent.

Shares of Sharp Corp. are rising more than 3 percent after the electronics maker said it expects a narrower loss for fiscal 2016 and also raised its outlook for fiscal 2017 operating income.

Automaker Toyota is declining more than 1 percent and Honda is losing 0.6 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.6 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is losing more than 1 percent and JX Holdings is down 0.3 percent even as crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Trend Micro is rising almost 9 percent and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings is rising more than 2 percent. Meanwhile, Yamato Holdings and Mitsui Fudosan are lower by more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the mid 113 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed roughly flat in choppy trading on Thursday as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following the recent run to record highs. Traders were also digesting another batch of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Labor Department showing a modest increase in initial jobless claims in the week ended February 11.

While the Dow crept up 7.91 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 20,619.77, the Nasdaq edged down 4.54 points or 0.1 percent to 5,814.90 and the S&P 500 dipped 2.03 points or 0.1 percent to 2,347.22.

The major European markets gave back some ground on Thursday following recent strength. While the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures rose Thursday, holding above $53 a barrel amid hints that OPEC will further cut production unless prices move higher. March WTI crude rose $0.25, or 0.5 percent, to settle at $53.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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