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Japanese Market Drifts Lower

The Japanese stock market has slipped into negative territory on Tuesday after opening higher despite the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors turned cautious as they looked ahead to earnings results from several big-name companies later this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 65.19 points or 0.29 percent to 22,152.71, after rising to a high of 22,268.37 in early trades. The Japanese market closed modestly higher on Monday.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Sony is down 0.2 percent, Canon is lower by 0.3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is declining 0.4 percent and Panasonic is losing 0.8 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is lower by more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is adding 0.2 percent. In the auto space, Toyota is edging up 0.1 percent and Honda is rising 0.6 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.1 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum and Inpex are gaining almost 4 percent each after crude oil prices rose to a six-month high overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Daiwa House Industry Co. and Fuji Electric Co. are gaining almost 3 percent each, while JXTG Holdings and Daiichi Sankyo are higher by more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Tokai Carbon is losing almost 6 percent, Showa Denko is lower by more than 5 percent and Yaskawa Electric is declining more than 4 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will see March figures for department store sales and machine tool orders today.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Monday in choppy trading as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of a slew of earnings news from big-name companies in the coming days. The Easter Monday holiday, which has kept many overseas markets closed on the day, also contributed to light trading activity.

While the Dow dipped 48.49 points or 0.2 percent to 26,511.05, the Nasdaq rose 17.21 points or 0.2 percent to 8,015.27 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.94 points or 0.1 percent to 2,907.97.

The major European markets remained closed on Monday for the Easter Monday holiday.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Monday after the U.S. ended the waivers it had offered to major importers of Iranian oil. WTI crude futures settled at $65.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on expiration day, up $1.70 or 2.66 percent.

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