Japanese Market Modestly Lower

The Japanese stock market is trading modestly lower in choppy trading on Friday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 just below the 27,700 level, despite the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders remain cautious and continue to monitor the spread of the new coronavirus Omicron variant.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 59.79 points or 0.22 percent to 27,693.58, after hitting a low of 27,588.61 earlier. Japanese shares closed significantly lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent, while Toyota is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is losing more than 1 percent, Tokyo Electron is declining more than 3 percent and Screen Holdings is down almost 3 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.5 percent, while Mizuho Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is gaining more than 1 percent, Canon is edging up 0.1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.5 percent. Sony is flat.

Among the other major losers, FUJIFILM Holdings is sliding almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is soaring more than 11 percent, while Dentsu Group and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are gaining more than 5 percent. IHI is advancing more than 4 percent, while ANA Holdings, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Fukuoka Financial Group are up almost 4 percent each. Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and Concordia Financial Group are rising more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, the services sector in Japan continued to expand in November, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank showed on Friday with a PMI score of 53.0. That's up from 50.7 in October, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the composite index improved to 53.3 from 50.7 in the previous month.

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

On Wall Street, stocks showed a strong move back to the upside during trading on Thursday following the substantial downturn seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages all finished the day firmly positive, with the Dow posting a particularly strong gain.

The Dow spiked 617.75 points or 1.8 percent to 34,639.79 and the S&P 500 jumped 64.06 points or 1.4 percent to 4,577.10. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a lack of direction early in the session but closed up 127.27 points or 0.8 percent at 15,381.32.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rallied on Thursday after falling to a three-month low in the previous session, shaking off plans by OPEC to increase output. West Texas Intermediate for January delivery jumped $0.93 or 1.4 percent to $66.50 a barrel.

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