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Japanese Market Slightly Lower

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Monday, extending the sharp losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 28,700 level, following the strongly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, on renewed concerns about the pace of the global economic recovery amid the detection of a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant in South Africa.

The market clawed back from early steep losses after the release of some upbeat retail sales data for the month of October.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 9.13 points or 0.03 percent at 28,742.49, after hitting a low of 28,335.61 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply lower on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is flat and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are losing more than 2 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 2 percent, Screen Holdings is adding almost 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is up more than 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing almost 2 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is down more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Panasonic and Canon losing almost 2 percent, while Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are edging up 0.5 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Mazda Motor and Keisei Electric Railway are losing more than 5 percent each, while Tokyu and Hino Motors are declining almost 5 percent each. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Mitsubishi Motors Nissan Motor and Showa Denko K.K. are slipping more than 4 percent each, while Tobu Railway, IHI and Tokyu Fudosan Holdings are down almost 4 percent each. Nippon Sheet Glass and Marui Group is sliding more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, M3 and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are gaining almost 4 percent each, while Nintendo is up 3.5 percent. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Nippon Yusen K.K. are adding more than 3 percent each. CyberAgent is rising almost 2 percent.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Japan was up 0.9 percent on year in October, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Monday - coming in at 12.552 trillion yen. That was shy of expectations for an annual increase of 1.1 percent following the 0.5 percent decline in September. On a monthly basis, retail sales rose 1.1 percent - exceeding expectations for a drop of 1.6 percent following the upwardly revised 2.8 percent gain in the previous month (originally 2.7 percent).

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 113 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside during post-holiday trading on Friday after turning higher over the course of Wednesday's session. With the steep drop on the day, the major averages fell to their lowest closing levels in at least a month.

The major averages all finished the day sharply lower. The Dow tumbled 905.04 points or 2.5 percent to 34,899.34, the Nasdaq slumped 353.57 points or 2.2 percent to 15,491.66 and the S&P 500 sank 106.84 points or 2.3 percent to 4,594.63.

The major European markets also showed substantial moves to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index plunged 4.8 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plummeted by 4.2 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices plummeted on Friday, sending the most active crude futures contract to their biggest single-session fall this year as reports of the new coronavirus variant raised concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down $10.24 or 13 percent at $68.15 a barrel, the biggest single-session loss since April 2020.

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