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Japanese Market Drifts Lower On Weak U.S. Data, Stronger Yen

The Japanese stock market opened on a weak note on Tuesday after an extended weekend, with investors pressing sales amid worries about the global economic outlook following some weak data from the U.S. and Europe. The dollar's sharp decline against the yen is also contributing to the weakness in the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is currently down 102.8 points or 1.1 percent at 9,418.

Steel, non-ferrous metals, automobile and bank stocks are mostly down in negative territory. Oil, pharmaceuticals and railway stocks are trading mixed.

Among big losers in the Nikkei index, Tokyo Electron is down 8.7 percent and Nippon Electric Glass is trading lower by around 8.5 percent.

Sharp Corp. shares are down more than 7 percent after the company forecast a wider-than-estimated loss.

TDK Corp, Kawasaki Kisen, Mitsumi Electric, Daiwa Securities, Mitsui OSK Lines, Mitsubishi Estate, Ricoh, Matsui Securities, Sony Corp and Nomura Holdings are trading lower by 3.5 to 5.5 percent.

JFE Holdings, Nippon Yusen KK, Casio Computer, Nippon Steel, Sumco Corp, Toho Zinc, Japan Steel Work and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings are also trading notably lower.

Bank stocks are trading weak after Standard & Poor's cut the credit ratings of 11 Spanish banks. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Aozora Bank, Bank of Yokohama and Shizuoka Bank are down 1 to 2.2 percent.

Among automobile stocks, Mazda Motor, Suzuki Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor and Hino Motors are trading lower by 1 to 3 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors and Isuzu Motors are up with modest gains.

Kikkoman Corp, Chiyoda Corp, Chubu Electric Power, Nippon Light Metal and Advantest Corp are trading higher by 2.3 to 4.5 percent.

Fujitsu, Tobu Railway, Nisshinbo Holdings Inc, Yahoo Japan, J Front Retailing, Fujifilm Holdings and Pacific Metals are up 1 to 2 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar plunged below the 80 yen-range in early deals in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 79.86 to the dollar.

On Wall Street, stocks ended modestly lower on Monday amid worries about the U.S. economy and concerns about the debt crisis in Europe. While the Dow ended down 15 points at 13,214, the Nasdaq dipped 23 points to 3,046 and the S&P 500 settled lower by about 5.5 points at 1,398.

Major European markets mostly ended notably lower on Monday amid worries about the eurozone economy.

U.S. crude oil futures snapped a four-day gain on Monday to settle a shade lower, as as the dollar gained strength and economic data from the Europe raised concerns about economic growth in the region. Crude for June delivery dropped $0.06 or 0.1 percent to close at $104.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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