Japanese Market Modestly Lower

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Monday, giving up some of the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying just a tad above the 29,000 level, ignoring the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday as traders are cautious ahead of the looming general elections, with reports indicating that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will mostly regain power.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 65.60 points or 0.23 percent at 29,003.03, after hitting a low of 28,924.40 and touching a high of 29,144.33 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is up almost 1 percent and Toyota is gaining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is edging down 0.2 percent and Screen Holdings is losing more than 1 percent, while Tokyo Electron is edging up 0.3 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging up 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, while Mizuho Financial is edging down 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic losing almost 1 percent and Sony down 1.5 percent, while Canon rising more than 1 percent. Mitsubishi Electric is flat.

Among the other major losers, M3 and Daiichi Sankyo are losing more than 3 percent each, while Takashimaya and Kyowa Kirin are higher by almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Toho Zinc is gaining almost 11 percent and Mitsui E&S Holdings is adding more than 5 percent, Inpex is up 1.5 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is rising more than 4 percent, while Hitachi Zosen and Nippon Sheet Glass are gaining almost 4 percent each. Kawasaki Heavy Industries is up more than 3 percent, while Rakuten Group and Pacific Metals are up almost 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 114 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, extending the rally seen over the course of Thursday's session. With the continued upward move, the Dow and the S&P 500 reached new one-month closing highs.

The major averages all closed firmly positive, although the Dow outperformed its counterparts. The Dow shot up 382.20 points or 1.1 percent to 35,294.76, while the Nasdaq rose 73.91 points or 0.5 percent to 14,897.34 and the S&P 500 climbed 33.11 points or 0.1 percent to 4,471.37.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures settled notably higher Friday after the International Energy Agency said oil demand is likely to increase significantly due to the energy crunch supporting prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November rose $0.97 or 1.2 percent at $82.28 a barrel. For the week, WTI Crude oil futures gained 3.7 percent, surging for the eighth straight week.

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