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Japanese Market Declines

The Japanese stock market is declining on Tuesday and the safe-haven yen strengthened as rising U.S.-China trade tensions weighed on investor sentiment. China has announced plans to raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for the U.S. decision to raise tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 230.47 points or 1.09 percent to 20,960.81, after touching a low of 20,751.45 earlier. Japanese shares fell notably lower on Monday.

The major exporters are weak on a stronger safe-haven yen. Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are declining more than 2 percent each, while Canon is lower by more than 1 percent and Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent.

Among tech stocks, Advantest is rising more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is down 0.2 percent. In the auto space, Toyota is lower by 1 percent and Honda is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the major banks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex and Japan Petroleum are losing more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices declined overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Taiyo Yuden is gaining almost 5 percent, Toppan Printing is rising more than 4 percent and Hitachi Zosen is higher by almost 4 percent.

On the flip side, Isuzu Motors is losing more than 16 percent, Fukuoka Financial is lower by almost 12 percent and Citizen Watch is declining more than 11 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan posted a current account surplus of 2,847.9 billion yen in March, down 10.6 percent on year. That missed forecasts for a surplus of 3,007.2 billion yen, but was still up from 2,676.8 billion yen in February.

The trade balance showed a surplus of 700.1 billion yen, also missing expectations for 838.9 billion yen and up from 489.2 billion yen in the previous month.

The Bank of Japan said that overall bank lending in Japan was up 2.4 percent on year in April, coming in at 537.652 trillion yen. That was up from the downwardly revised 2.3 percent increase in March.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 109 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Monday after China announced plans to raise tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, shrugging off a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump. The move by China comes in retaliation for Trump's recent decision to raise tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent.

The Dow plunged 617.38 points or 2.4 percent to 25,324.99, the Nasdaq plummeted 269.92 points or 3.4 percent to 7,647.02 and the S&P 500 dove 69.53 points or 2.4 percent to 2,811.87.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Monday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures pared early gains and settled notably lower on Monday as worries about global growth following an escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions raised concerns about energy demand. WTI crude for June delivery fell $0.62 or 1 percent to $61.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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