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Japanese Market Declines

The Japanese stock market is declining on Wednesday while the safe-haven yen strengthened following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street amid uncertainty about a U.S. coronavirus relief bill. Weak earnings results from major Japanese companies also dampened sentiment.

Investors now look ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision due later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 155.16 points or 0.68 percent to 22,502.22, after falling to a low of 22,471.16 in early trades.

The major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Panasonic is declining almost 1 percent, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are down 0.7 percent each.

Canon is tumbling more than 11 percent after the digital camera maker reported a loss for the second quarter and forecast a 65 percent fall in full-year profit.

Automaker Nissan Motor is losing more than 9 percent after reporting a loss for the first quarter and projecting a loss for fiscal 2020.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing are advancing almost 1 percent each. In the tech space, Tokyo Electron and Advantest are adding almost 1 percent each.

In the financial sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.4 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.3 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is losing more than 2 percent and Honda is lower by 0.2 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is down 0.3 percent and Inpex is edging up 0.1 percent after crude oil prices declined overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Chughai Pharmaceutical is rising more than 3 percent, Tokyo Gas is higher by almost 3 percent and Sumitomo Realty & Development is advancing almost 2 percent.

Conversely, Fanuc Corp. is lower by more than 8 percent and Konica Minolta is declining almost 6 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 105 yen-range on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Tuesday as traders kept an eye on developments in Washington after Republicans unveiled their version of a new coronavirus relief bill, which includes another $1,200 stimulus payment to Americans as well as more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. However, it also slashes unemployment benefits and provides liability protections for businesses and doctors, which could lead to an impasse in negotiations with Democrats. A negative reaction to earnings news from Dow components 3M and McDonald's also contributed to the weakness on Wall Street.

The Dow slid 205.49 points or 0.8 percent to 26,379.28, the Nasdaq tumbled 134.18 points or 1.3 percent to 10,402.09 and the S&P 500 fell 20.97 points or 0.7 percent to 3,218.44.

The major European markets ended mixed on Tuesday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Tuesday amid concerns about the outlook for near-term energy demand due to the surge in coronavirus cases and fears of fresh lockdown measures. WTI crude for September declined $0.56 or about 1.4 percent to $41.04 a barrel.

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