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Japanese Market Declines

The Japanese stock market is declining on Friday following the modest losses overnight on Wall Street amid worries about the impact as well as spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 162.97 points or 0.68 percent to 23,664.76, after touching a low of 23,603.48 earlier. Japanese stocks gave up early gains to end lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is higher by almost 3 percent, while Fast Retailing is lower by more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower despite a slightly weaker yen. Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are lower by more than 1 percent each, while Panasonic is declining 0.6 percent and Sony is down 0.6 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is lower by 0.5 percent. Among auto stocks, Honda Motor is declining more than 1 percent and Toyota Motor is down 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is lower by more than 1 percent and Inpex is down 0.2 percent even as crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Sumco Corp. is gaining more than 6 percent, while Rakuten and Toppan Printing are rising almost 4 percent each.

Conversely, Nissan Motor is losing 10 percent after reporting a significant decline in profit for the nine-month period on Thursday and also lowering its financial outlook for the full year.

Ebara Corp. is lower by more than 6 percent, while JFE Holdings, Daiwa House Industry and Takara Holdings are all declining more than 4 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see December numbers for its tertiary industry index today.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower in a volatile session on Thursday, with profit taking contributing to the initial weakness amid news of a jump in new coronavirus cases in China and as a number of companies continue to warn about the impact of the outbreak. On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a modest increase in consumer prices in the month of January.

The Dow fell 128.11 points or 0.4 percent to 29,423.31, the Nasdaq edged down 13.99 points or 0.1 percent to 9,711.97 and the S&P 500 dipped 5.51 points or 0.2 percent to 3,373.94.

The major European markets also ended lower on Thursday, but well off their worst levels. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday despite lingering concerns about the outlook for energy demand. WTI crude for March ended up $0.25 or about 0.5 percent at $51.42 a barrel.

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