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Japanese Market Advances; SoftBank Climbs

The Japanese stock market is advancing on Monday despite the mixed cues from Wall Street Friday. Investor sentiment was boosted by news that AstraZenece has resumed the late-stage trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 157.05 points or 0.67 percent to 23,563.54, after touching a high of 23,575.14 earlier. Japanese stocks recovered after a weak start to close higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 8 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 1 percent.

SoftBank Group said it has reached an agreement to sell UK chip designer Arm ltd. to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia for up to $40 billion.

The major exporters are higher despite a stronger yen. Canon is rising more than 2 percent, Panasonic is advancing almost 2 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 1 percent and Sony is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is unchanged, while Tokyo Electron is down 0.2 percent. In the financial sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is higher by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

Among automakers, Toyota is higher by more than 1 percent and Honda Motor is rising 1 percent. In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is adding 0.2 percent and Inpex is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Pacific Metals is gaining almost 6 percent and Hino Motors is rising more than 5 percent. IHI Corp., Isuzu Motors, Toho Zinc and Casio Computer are higher by more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is losing more than 7 percent, Mitsui OSK Lines is lower by almost 6 percent and Nippon Yusen is declining more than 4 percent.

In economic news, Japan will release final July numbers for industrial production as well as July figures for its tertiary industry index today.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed in choppy trading on Friday as traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves following the substantial volatility seen over the past several sessions. Traders may also have been looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision scheduled for next Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to leave rates at near-zero levels but could make tweaks to its accompanying statement. The central bank's latest economic projections may also attract some attention.

While the Nasdaq fell 66.05 points or 0.6 percent to 10,853.55, the S&P 500 inched up 1.78 points or 0.1 percent to 3,340.97 and the Dow climbed 131.06 points or 0.5 percent to 27,665.64.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Friday. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices recovered after an early setback on Friday, and despite staying sluggish for much of the day's session, managed to close slightly higher. WTI crude for October ended up $0.03 or about 0.08 percent at $37.33 a barrel.

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