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Japanese Market Slightly Higher

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Friday, extending the modest gains of the previous sessions, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 29,000 mark, following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Meanwhile, concerns about the extension of the COVID-19 state of emergency in several major areas are weighing on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 7.94 points or 0.03 percent to 28,966.50, after hitting a low of 29,080.89 and a low of 28, 839.54 earlier. Japanese shares closed modestly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are edging up 0.4 percent each. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is edging down 0.3 percent, while Mazda is edging up 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 2 percent, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are adding almost 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are down more than 1 percent each.

Among major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent and Sony is adding almost 1 percent, while Panasonic is losing more than 1 percent and Canon is down almost 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Eisai is gaining more than 7 percent, while Daiichi Sankyo. Bandai Namco Holdings, M3 and Japan Post Holdings are adding almost 3 percent each. Chugai Pharmaceutical, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Fujitsu are up more than 2 percent, while Kyocera, DeNA, Astellas Pharma, Chubu Electric Power, CyberAgent and Nippon Yusen K.K. are rising almost 2 percent each.

Conversely, Kubota is losing more than 4 percent and Isuzu Motors is down almost 4 percent, while Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Konica Minolta are lower by more than 3 percent. T&D Holdings, Mitsubishi Motors, Marui Group, Tosoh, GS Yuasa and Marui Group are all down almost 3 percent each.

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

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Thursday but largely maintained a positive bias on the day before closing mostly higher. With the upward move, the S&P 500 reached a new record closing high.

The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the Dow inched up just 19.10 points or 0.1 percent to 34,466.24. The tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 108.58 points or 0.8 percent to 14,020.33 and the S&P 500 rose 19.63 points or 0.5 percent to 4,239.18.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures moved higher on Thursday amid optimism energy demand will pick up gradually following an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that showed a big drop in U.S. crude stockpiles last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up by $0.33 or 0.5 percent at $70.29 a barrel.

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