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Japanese Market Rises

The Japanese stock market is rising on Friday despite the lackluster cues overnight from Wall Street ahead of the upcoming corporate earnings season. A weaker yen and optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal helped lift investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 85.69 or 0.39 percent to 21,797.07, after touching a high of 21,832.18 earlier. Japanese shares ended a choppy session slightly higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is rising more than 3 percent, Sony is advancing more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is up 0.4 percent, while Canon is edging down 0.1 percent.

The Nikkei business review reported that Panasonic and electric car company Tesla have frozen a plan to boost capacity of the Gigafactory 1 battery plant in the U.S. state of Nevada due to weak demand for the vehicles.

Shares of Toshiba Corp. are losing more than 3 percent after the Japanese conglomerate said that China's ENN Ecological Holdings Co. has scrapped an agreement to take over Toshiba's U.S. liquefied natural gas business.

In the tech sector, Advantest is advancing almost 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is up 0.3 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda and Toyota are adding almost 1 percent each.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding more than 1 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing more than 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is falling almost 3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Fast Retailing is gaining 7 percent, Chiyoda Corp. is rising almost 5 percent and T&D Holdings is higher by more than 3 percent.

On the flip side, Ricoh Co. and Cyberagent are lower by more than 3 percent each, while Idemitsu Kosan is losing almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 111 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed little changed on Thursday in volatile trade as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves amid uncertainty about the upcoming earnings season, with some analysts expecting the results to be disappointing. Lingering uncertainty about the global economic outlook and a potential U.S.-China trade deal also kept traders on the sidelines.

While the S&P 500 inched up 0.11 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,888.32, the Dow edged down 14.11 points or 0.1 percent to 26,143.05 and the Nasdaq dipped 16.88 points or 0.2 percent to 7,947.36.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures drifted down sharply on Thursday on worries about a possible drop in demand for crude due to slowing global economy. WTI crude for May fell $1.03 or 1.6 percent at $63.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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