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Japanese Market Notably Lower

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Thursday following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street as the spiking number of new coronavirus cases in several U.S. states dampened investor sentiment.

In addition, the International Monetary Fund forecast a deeper recession for this year, saying it now expects the global economy to shrink 4.9 percent in 2020, compared to a a 3 percent contraction projected earlier.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is lower by 227.85 points or 1.01 percent to 22,306.47, after touching a low of 22,246.78 in early trades. Japanese shares closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are lower despite a weaker yen. Panasonic is losing almost 3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is lower by almost 2 percent, while Sony and Canon are declining more than 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest is lower by more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is down almost 3 percent and Toyota is declining more than 2 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is losing almost 2 percent and Japan Petroleum is lower by more than 1 percent after crude oil prices fell overnight.

The Nikkei reported that telecom conglomerate Nippon Telegraph & Telephone or NTT will acquire a 5 percent stake in electronics company NEC Corp. for about 60 billion yen, as part of a tie-up to develop 5G wireless technology. Shares of NTT are down 0.3 percent, while NEC Corp.'s shares are rising more than 3 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see April figures for its all industry activity index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 107 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday as it seemed traders could no longer ignore the spiking number of new coronavirus cases in several U.S. states. Fuelling the renewed concerns, Florida and California both reported their single biggest daily increases in new cases of COVID-19. Florida's Department of Health confirmed 5,508 new cases on Tuesday, while the California Department of Public Health reported an additional 7,149 cases.

The Dow plummeted 710.16 points or 2.7 percent to 25,445.94, the Nasdaq tumbled 222.20 points or 2.2 percent to 9,909.17 and the S&P 500 plunged 80.96 points or 2.6 percent to 3,050.33.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the downside on Wednesday. The German DAX Index plunged by 3.4 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 3.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices declined sharply on Wednesday as worries about the outlook for energy demand rose after data showing a surge in coronavirus cases raised the possibility of another lockdown in several parts of the globe. WTI crude for August delivery plunged $2.36 or 5.85 percent to $38.01 a barrel.

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