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Japanese Market Notably Higher

The Japanese stock market is notably higher on Monday, with the benchmark Nikkei index surging above the 29,600 level, with real estate and healthcare sectors leading the rally. Investors are also refocusing on vaccine rollout and stimulus-driven global economic recovery. The market closed sharply lower by 4 percent on Friday, logging the biggest point drop since June 2016.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 657.29 points or 2.27 percent to 29,623.30, after touching a high of 29,686.45 earlier.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding almost 5 and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is rising nearly 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is advancing almost 3 percent, while Toyota is flat.

The major exporters are also mostly higher. Panasonic is higher by almost 1 percent, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are advancing almost 3 percent. Canon is edging up 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is rising almost 6 percent and Tokyo Electron is up more than 3 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, NTT Data is climbing more than 8 percent and Trend Micro is gaining almost 6 percent. Screen Holdings, Dai Nippon, Ricoh, Dentsu and Tokyo Tatemono are all higher by nearly 5 percent each.

Conversely, Sharp is losing almost 4 percent and Mitsui OSK Lines is lower by more than 2 percent. Tokyu, JGC Holdings, Central Japan Railway, Nippon Steel, JFE Holdings and Nippon Yusen are all declining more than 1 percent each.

In economic news, the au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing PMI was revised higher to 51.4 in February 2021, marking the first month of expansion in factory activity since April 2019 and the fastest since December 2018.That's up from a preliminary estimate of 50.6 and following a 49.8 a month earlier and moves above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. Positive sentiment reached its strongest level since July 2017.

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

On Wall Street, stocks saw considerable volatility over the course of the trading day on Friday, following the sell-off seen in the previous session. While a rebound by tech stocks contributed to an advance by the Nasdaq, the Dow posted a steep loss.

The Nasdaq climbed 72.91 points or 0.6 percent to 13,192.34 after ending Thursday's trading at its lowest closing level in a nearly month. Meanwhile, the Dow plunged 469.64 points or 1.5 percent to 30,932.37 and the S&P 500 fell 18.19 points or 0.5 percent to 3,811.15.

Despite the mixed performance on the day, the major averages moved notably lower for the week, with the Nasdaq plummeting 4.9 percent, the S&P 500 tumbling 2.4 percent and the Dow slumping 1.8 percent.

The major European markets also showed notable moves to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plunged by 2.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.4 percent and the German DAX Index fell by 0.7 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Friday as the dollar gained strength amid rising bond yields and solid economic data. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended down $2.03 or 3.2 percent at $61.50 a barrel.

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