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Japanese Market Lower After Early Gains

The Japanese stock market is lower after giving up early gains on Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei index just above the 29,800 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Investors are digesting data that showed household spending plunging 6.6 percent on-year in February, the third consecutive monthly drop.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 257.70 points or 0.86 percent to 29,831.55, after touching a high of 30,208.89 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is down more than 2 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging down 0.3 percent and Tokyo Electron is losing almost 2 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down more than 2 percent.

The major exporters are weak, with Panasonic losing almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric edging down 0.5 percent and Sony down almost 2 percent, while Canon is edging up 0.4 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Toho is gaining almost 4 percent, while Kobe Steel and Ebara are rising more than 3 percent each. Matsui Securities is up almost 3 percent, while Taskawa Electric and Showa Denko are advancing more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Suziki Motor is losing almost 5 percent and Hitachi Hosen is down more than 4 percent. Mitsubishi Motors and Shinsei Bank are declining more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, the average of household spending in Japan was down 6.6 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Communications and Internal Affairs said on Tuesday - coming in at 252,451 yen. That was the third consecutive monthly decline and missed expectations for a decline of 5.3 percent following the 6.1 percent annual decline in January. On a monthly basis, household spending was up 2.4 percent - again missing expectations for an increase of 2.8 percent following the 7.3 percent slide in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 110 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant move to the upside during trading on Monday as trading resumed following the long holiday weekend. With the upward move on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages all closed firmly in positive territory. The Dow jumped 373.98 points or 1.1 percent to 33,527.19, the Nasdaq spiked 225.49 points or 1.7 percent to 13,705.59 and the S&P 500 surged up 58.04 points or 1.4 percent to 4,077.91.

Meanwhile, the major European markets were closed on the day in observance of Easter Monday.

Crude oil prices sank sharply Monday, weighed down by the decision from major oil producers to increase production beginning in May. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May dropped $2.80 or 4.6 percent at $58.65 a barrel.

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