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Japanese Market Drifts Lower

The Japanese stock opened higher on Monday tracking the positive cues from Wall Street Friday following the release of mixed U.S. jobs data for September.

However, the market slipped into negative territory on caution ahead of the start of the next round of U.S.-China trade talks on Thursday. Investor sentiment was dampened after Bloomberg reported that China may be increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal with the U.S.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 69.38 points or 0.32 percent to 21,340.82, after touching a high of 21,475.28 earlier. Japanese stocks closed higher on Friday.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Canon is lower by more than 1 percent, Panasonic is declining 0.7 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is losing 0.6 percent and Sony is down 0.2 percent.

In the auto sector, Honda Motor is lower by almost 2 percent and Toyota Motor is down 0.2 percent. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is losing more than 1 percent and Advantest is declining almost 1 percent.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is rising 0.3 percent, while Fast Retailing is down 0.5 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is declining more than 1 percent and Japan Petroleum is edging down 0.1 percent even as crude oil prices snapped an eight-session streak to close higher on Friday.

Among the other major gainers, Taiyo Yuden is rising more than 2 percent, while M3 Inc. is higher by almost 2 percent.

On the flip side, Seiko Epson is losing almost 3 percent, while Otsuka Holdings and Nikon Corp. are lower by more than 2 percent each.

On the economic front, Japan is scheduled to release preliminary figures for its leading and coincident indexes as well as September numbers for the eco watchers survey today.

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

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Friday following the release of a closely watched Labor Department report showing weaker than expected job growth in September, but an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate to a nearly 50-year low. The mixed data seemed to serve the dual purpose of reinforcing expectations the Federal Reserve will continue cutting interest rates while at the same offsetting concerns about a potential recession.

The Dow soared 372.68 points or 1.4 percent to 26,573.72, the Nasdaq surged up 110.21 points or 1.4 percent to 7,982.47 and the S&P 500 spiked 41.38 points or 1.4 percent to 2,952.01.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices snapped an eight-session losing streak and rose on Friday, after fairly decent monthly jobs data from the U.S. Labor Department eased concerns about growth in the world's largest economy and the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for November ended up $0.36, or about 0.7 percent, at $52.81 a barrel.

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