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Japanese Market Pares Losses

The Japanese stock market opened lower on Friday and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the mixed cues from Wall Street after U.S. Treasury yields declined further overnight. Worries about the U.S.-China trade war also dampened sentiment. However, the market has pared earlier losses and is now modestly lower.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 26.30 points or 0.13 percent to 20,379.35, after touching a low of 20,300.35 in early trades. Japanese shares closed lower on Thursday.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 0.5 percent, Sony is declining 0.3 percent and Canon is down 0.1 percent, while Panasonic is adding 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising 0.2 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 2 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is declining more than 1 percent and Fast Retailing is down 0.5 percent. In the auto sector, Honda Motor is lower by 0.3 percent and Toyota Motor is edging down 0.1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Japan Petroleum and Inpex are higher by more than 1 percent each after crude oil prices extended losses overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Screen Holdings is rising more than 3 percent and Daiwa House Industry is gaining almost 3 percent.

On the flip side, Recruit Holdings is losing more than 3 percent, while Suzuki Motor, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Tokuyama Corp. are all lower by more than 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 106 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Thursday in choppy trading as traders digested an avalanche of U.S. economic data, including mixed reports on retail sales and industrial production. The Commerce Department released a report showing U.S. retail sales climbed by much more than expected in July, while the Federal Reserve released a separate report unexpectedly showing a modest decrease in industrial production in July.

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq edged down 7.32 points or 0.1 percent to 7,766.62, the Dow climbed 99.97 points or 0.4 percent to 25,579.39 and the S&P 500 rose 7.00 points or 0.3 percent to 2,847.60.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index slid by 0.7 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices saw further downside on Thursday, extending losses from the previous day on continued concerns about the outlook for global demand. West Texas Intermediate fell $0.48 or 0.87 percent to $54.47.

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