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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Tuesday despite the negative cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are cautious following news that the U.S. and Japan have started high-level trade talks in Washington aimed at creating a bilateral trade framework.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 56.37 points or 0.25 percent to 22,225.48, after touching a low of 22,095.32 in early trades. Japanese shares touched a four-month high on Monday.

The major exporters are higher on a slightly weaker yen. Sony is advancing almost 2 percent, Canon is rising almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is higher by 0.4 percent and Panasonic is adding 0.2 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is declining 0.2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is up 0.3 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda is unchanged, while Toyota is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.4 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is losing more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 0.2 percent after crude oil prices declined overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Chiyoda Corp. is rising almost 8 percent, KDDI Corp. is gaining almost 6 percent and NTT Docomo is higher by almost 4 percent.

In response to the Japanese government urging telecom carries to lower service fees, mobile carrier NTT Docomo said Monday it will cut its mobile phone fees by up to 40 percent from June 2019.

On the flip side, Toho Co. is lower by almost 3 percent, while Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Credit Saison and Hino Motors are all losing more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see February numbers for its tertiary industry index and March figures for condominium sales today.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower on Monday after financial giant Goldman Sachs reported better than expected first-quarter earnings, while revenues missed expectations. Shares of Citigroup also closed just below the unchanged line even though the company reported first-quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates. Nonetheless, traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of other big-name companies in the coming days.

The Dow slipped 26.53 points or 0.1 percent to 26,384.77, the Nasdaq dipped 8.15 points or 0.1 percent to 7,976.01 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.83 points or 0.1 percent to 2,905.58.

European stocks saw modest strength on Monday, although the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged line. The German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures declined on Monday on reports Russia and OPEC might increase production to boost their market share. WTI crude futures for May ended down $0.49 or 0.8 percent at $63.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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