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Japanese Market Sharply Lower

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Friday after U.S. stocks plunged overnight and the safe-have yen strengthened again.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 604.80 points or 2.76 percent to 21,286.06, off a low of 21,128.52 earlier. On Thursday, Japanese shares rose sharply on bargain hunting.

The major exporters are notably lower as the yen strengthened. Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are declining more than 3 percent each, Panasonic is losing almost 3 percent and Canon is down more than 2 percent. SoftBank is lower by more than 1 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is declining almost 2 percent and Honda is losing 3 percent.
In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining almost 3 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is falling 5 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is lower by almost 5 percent after crude oil prices fell 1 percent overnight.

Among the market's best performers, Nikon Corp. is rising more than 3 percent, Terumo Corp. is advancing more than 2 percent and Shiseido Co. is advancing almost 2 percent.

On the flip side, DeNA is losing more than 9 percent, Furukawa Co. is declining more than 6 percent and Showa Denko is down 6 percent.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said the M2 money stock in Japan was up 3.4 percent on year in January, coming in at 992.0 trillion yen. That follows the 3.6 percent jump in December. The M3 money stock advanced an annual 2.9 percent to 1,321.1 trillion yen, slowing from the 3.1 percent jump in the previous month.

Japan will see December numbers for its tertiary industry index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks were hammered yet again Thursday, as markets quickly tanked after an initial move higher. Stocks have tumbled from record highs over the past week, as traders grew concerned about inflation and higher interest rates.

The Dow shed 1,032.89 points or 4.15 percent to 23,860.46, and is down more than 10 percent from all-time highs set late January. The S&P 500 index closed off 100.66 points or 3.75 percent at 2,581.00, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 274.83 points or 3.9 percent at 6,777.16.

After snapping a seven session losing streak yesterday, the European markets dropped again Thursday. The DAX of Germany dropped 2.62 percent, the CAC 40 of France fell 1.98 percent and the FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 1.49 percent.

Crude oil futures fell Thursday, slipping to their lowest in five weeks due to a stronger dollar and demand concerns. WTI crude declined $0.64 or 1 percent to settle at $61.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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