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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday following the overnight gains on Wall Street and on a weaker yen. Nevertheless, investors remained cautious amid the corporate earnings season.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 82.74 points or 0.37 percent to 22342.48, after rising to a high of 22,362.92 in early trades. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday in a choppy session.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is advancing almost 1 percent and Canon is adding 0.4 percent, while Sony is declining 0.6 percent and Panasonic is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is rising almost 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is down 0.1 percent. In the auto space, Honda is declining more than 1 percent and Toyota is lower by 0.4 percent. Shares of Nissan Motor are losing more than 2 percent.

In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is declining almost 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is down more than 1 percent and Inpex is losing 0.6 percent, even as crude oil prices held near six-month highs overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Trend Micro is gaining almost 5 percent and Cyberagent is rising more than 4 percent. Toho Co. and Recruit Holdings are advancing almost 3 percent each.

On the flip side, Nomura Holdings is lower by 3 percent, while FamilyMart UNY and Concordia Financial are losing almost 3 percent.

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

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended at record closing highs on Tuesday, reflecting a positive reaction to upbeat earnings news from a number of big-name companies, including United Technologies, Coca-Cola and Twitter. Positive sentiment was also generated by a Commerce Department report showing new home sales in the U.S. unexpectedly jumped to their highest level in well over a year in the month of March.

The Dow climbed 145.34 points or 0.6 percent to 26,656.39, the Nasdaq surged up 105.56 points or 1.3 percent to 8,120.82 and the S&P 500 jumped 25.71 points or 0.9 percent to 2,933.68.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices held near a six-month high on Tuesday after the U.S. said it would not renew Iran oil waivers once they expire. WTI crude for June ended up $0.75 or 1.1 percent at $66.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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