Japanese Market Significantly Higher

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday, recouping some of the sharp losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index breaking back above the 28,000 level, despite the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, after the Japanese government stepped up virus containment measures on confirming the country's first Omicron variant case.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 246.43 points or 0.89 percent at 28,068.19, after touching a high of 28,059.86 earlier. Japanese stocks closed sharply lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.4 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 2 percent and Toyota is adding more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Advantest is gaining almost 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are edging up 0.2 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 1 percent.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic and Sony are flat, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.5 percent and Canon is gaining almost 2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Seiko Epson is adding almost 5 percent, while Toto, Fanuc and Oji Holdings are gaining almost 4 percent. Daikin Industries is up more than 3 percent, while Ricoh, Yaskawa Electric, NEC, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Mitsui Fudosan, Seven & I Holdings, Nippon Paper Industries, and Nippon Yusen K.K. are rising almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, CyberAgent and Z Holdings are losing more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in November, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank showed on Wednesday with a seasonally adjusted manufacturing PMI score of 54.5. That's up from 53.2 in October and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. This signaled the strongest improvement in the health of the sector since January 2018, and the tenth consecutive month of overall growth.

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

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Tuesday, largely offsetting the notable rebound seen in the previous session. With the steep drop on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 fell to their lowest closing levels in at least a month.

The major averages saw continued weakness going into the close of trading. The Dow plunged 652.22 points or 1.9 percent to 34,483.72, the Nasdaq slumped 245.14 points or 1.6 percent to 15,537.69 and the S&P 500 tumbled 88.27 points or 1.9 percent to 4,567.00.

The major European markets all also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices declined sharply on Tuesday amid fresh concerns about the outlook for oil and jet fuel demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended down by $3.77 or 5.4 percent at $66.18 a barrel.

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