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Japanese Market Sharply Lower; Nikkei Falls Below 23,000 Mark

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Monday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index falling below the 23,000 mark, as rising bond yields and the prospects for higher interest rates following the release of better-than-expected U.S. jobs data dented investor sentiment.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 569.59 points or 2.45 percent to 22,704.94, off a low of 22,697.53 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly lower despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 4 percent, Canon is losing almost 3 percent and Panasonic is down more than 2 percent, while Sony is adding more than 2 percent. SoftBank Group's shares are lower by more than 2 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is declining more than 1 percent, while Honda is advancing more than 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 3 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 5 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is lower by more than 4 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is falling more than 5 percent as crude oil prices slipped on Friday.

Among the market's best performers, Ube Industries is rising almost 3 percent, Ricoh is adding more than 2 percent and Fujifilm is advancing almost 1 percent.

On the flip side, Fujikura is falling 16 percent, while Tokai Carbon and Nippon Sheet Glass are lower by more than 8 percent each. Furukawa Electric is down more than 6 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will see January results for the services and composite PMIs from Nikkei today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 109 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Friday as traders worries about the prospects of higher interest rates after the Labor Department released a report showing stronger than expected job growth and a jump in wages. A negative reaction to quarterly results from big name tech companies like Google parent Alphabet and Apple also contributed to the sell-off.

The Dow tumbled 665.75 points or 2.5 percent to 25,520.96, the Nasdaq slumped 144.92 points or 2 percent to 7,240.95 and the S&P 500 dove 59.85 points or 2.1 percent to 2,762.13.

The major European markets also showed notable moves to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dropped by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures also responded negatively to the jobs report on Friday. WTI crude for March delivery dipped $0.35 to $65.45 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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