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Japanese Market Higher

The Japanese stock market is higher on Friday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 breaking above the 30,000 mark earlier, following positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Traders are also upbeat on a global economic recovery following the U.S. Federal Reserve's repeated assurances that monetary policy will likely remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

However, traders remain concerned about a spike in daily domestic coronavirus infections and possible restrictions on economic activity.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 88.90 points or 0.30 percent to 29,797.88, after touching a high of 30,064.35 in early trades. Japanese shares closed slightly lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.1 percent, while Fast Retailing is losing more than 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging down 0.4 percent, while Toyota is up almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is adding more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is flat, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.1 percent.

The major exporters are higher. Mitsubishi Electric, Canon and Panasonic are gaining almost 1 percent each, while Sony is up almost 3 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Japan Exchange Group and Olympus are gaining more than 4 percent each, while Yokogawa Electric, Konica Minolta, Fuji Electric and Sapporo Holdings are adding almost 3 percent each. Asahi Group, Terumo, Bandai Namco, Shinsei Bank, Nippon Telegraph, Yamaha and Nippon Yusen are all up more than 2 percent.

Conversely, Kobe Steel, Seven & I Holdings, T&D Holdings and Nippon Steel are losing almost 2 percent each..

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

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday after ending the previous session little changed. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a particularly strong upward move, while the S&P 500 reached a new record closing high.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts. While the Nasdaq jumped 140.47 points or 1 percent to 13,829.31, the S&P 500 rose 17.22 points or 0.4 percent to 4,097.17 and the Dow inched up 57.31 points or 0.2 percent to 33,503.57.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index crept up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices eased on Thursday, weighed down by concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases and lockdown measures in several countries. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May dipped $0.17 or 0.3 percent at $59.60 a barrel.

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