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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark Nikkei index hovering around the 29,700 level, following the IMF forecasting the strongest global expansion in at least four decades for this year. However, the cues overnight from Wall Street were negative.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is advancing 12.17 points or 0.04 percent to 29,708.80, after touching a high of 29,867.94 and a low of 29,523.55 earlier in choppy trading. Japanese stocks closed lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is up almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.1 percent, while Toyota is up almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is down almost 1 percent, while Screen Holdings is adding more than 1 percent and Advantest is up almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is losing 0.5 percent, Sony is declining almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.2 percent, while Canon is edging up 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, NEC is adding almost 6 percent, Isuzu Motor is gaining more than 5 percent and Yamato Holdings is up almost 4 percent. Fuji Electric, Nippon Sheet Glass and Asahi Goup are up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Alps Alpine is losing almost 4 percent, while Takeda Pharmaceutical and Nexon are down almost 3 percent each. Nomura Holdings, Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Me and Hitachi Zosen are all declining more than 2 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Tuesday following the rally seen in the previous session. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before eventually closing slightly lower.

While the Dow slipped 96.95 points or 0.3 percent to 33,430.24, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed just below the unchanged line. The Nasdaq edged down 7.21 points or 0.1 percent to 13,698.38 and the S&P 500 dipped 3.97 points or 0.1 percent to 4,073.94.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index climbed by 0.8 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Tuesday, riding a weaker U.S. dollar. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.68 or 1.2 percent at $59.33 a barrel.

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