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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is higher on Friday, with the overnight gains on Wall Street and a weaker yen lifting investor sentiment. Nevertheless, gains are modest as investors look ahead to the release of the closely-watched U.S. monthly jobs report later in the day.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 39.02 points or 0.19 percent to 20,667.58, after rising to a high of 20,721.15 in early trades.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Sony is adding almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.6 percent and Canon is adding 0.4 percent, while Panasonic is down 0.2 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is higher by 0.6 percent and Honda is up 0.3 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising more than 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is advancing more than 1 percent.

MS&AD Insurance said it has agreed with Swiss Re AG to invest 800 million pounds, or $1.5 billion, to acquire a stake of up to 15 percent in Swiss Re's UK-based unit ReAssure Jersey One Ltd. Shares of MS&AD Insurance are advancing more than 1 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is advancing almost 1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is adding 0.5 percent after crude oil prices rose to above $50 a barrel overnight.

Among the best performers, Toho Zinc is rising more than 3 percent, while Fast Retailing and Sumitomo Metal Mining are higher by almost 3 percent each.

On the flip side, Chughai Pharmaceutical is losing almost 2 percent, while Dentsu and FamilyMart UNY are down more than 1 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see preliminary August results for its leading and coincident indexes as well as August figures for labor cash earnings today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 112 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed at new record highs on Thursday, benefiting from a batch of largely upbeat U.S. economic data as well as optimism about the outlook for tax reform. Positive sentiment was generated by news the House approved a $4.1 trillion budget resolution, taking a key step in efforts to pass their tax reform plan.

The Dow rose 113.75 points or 0.5 percent to 22,775.39, the Nasdaq advanced 50.73 points or 0.8 percent to 6,585.36 and the S&P 500 climbed 14.33 points or 0.6 percent to 2,552.07.

European stocks also moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent, although the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line.

Crude oil futures rose on Thursday amid signs Saudi Arabia and Russia will agree to extend output cuts through next year. WTI crude gained $0.81 or 1.6 percent to settle at $50.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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