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Japanese Market Advances

The Japanese stock market, which resumed trading after a holiday on Tuesday, is advancing following the overnight gains on Wall Street as investors shrugged off concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Market heavyweight SoftBank is leading the gainers.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 106.46 points or 0.45 percent to 23,792.44, after touching a high of 23,867.99 in early trades. The Japanese market was closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is gaining almost 11 percent after a U.S. District judge ruled in favor of Sprint Corp.'s $26 billion merger deal with T-Mobile US. SoftBank is a majority shareholder of Sprint. Fast Retailing is adding 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are higher by almost 3 percent each. Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is adding 0.6 percent, while Toyota Motor is edging down 0.1 percent.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Canon is losing more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is declining almost 1 percent. Panasonic and Sony are down 0.3 percent each.

In the oil sector, Inpex is lower by more than 1 percent, while Japan Petroleum is adding 0.7 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Screen Holdings, Credit Saison and Pacific Metals are all rising more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Japan Steel Works is losing almost 6 percent, while Obayashi Corp. and Sumitomo Osaka are lower by almost 4 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said that the M2 money stock in Japan was up 2.8 percent on year in January, coming in at 1,042.9 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 2.7 percent, which would have been unchanged from the December reading.

The M3 money stock was up an annual 2.3 percent at 1,379.1 trillion yen - unchanged and matching forecasts.

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

On Wall Street stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday as traders continued to shrug off concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during testimony before the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, but also highlighted the resilience of the U.S. economy.

While the Nasdaq edged up 10.55 points or 0.1 percent to 9,638.94 and the S&P 500 rose 5.66 points or 0.2 percent to 3,357.75, the Dow closed down 0.48 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 29,276.34.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed 7 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Tuesday, rebounding from recent losses, on reports the number of new cases infected from the coronavirus is slowing down. WTI crude oil for March ended up $0.37, or about 0.8 percent, at $49.94 a barrel.

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