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Japanese Market Notably Lower

The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 staying above the 28,500 level, despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street, as traders digested the latest US inflation data and remained concerned about the resurging coronavirus cases in the country.

Japan's daily new COVID-19 cases exceeded 13,000 on Wednesday for the first time in over four months, spurred by the fast-spreading coronavirus omicron variant.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 227.83 points or 0.79 percent to 28,537.83, after hitting a low of 28,484.69 earlier. Japanese shares ended sharply higher on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing almost 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is declining 1.5 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is adding more than 1 percent, while Honda is edging down 0.2 percent.

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

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

The major exporters are lower. Sony, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are declining almost 1 percent each, while Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major losers, Aeon is losing almost 5 percent and Yaskawa Electric is slipping more than 4 percent, while Olympus and Toho are declining almost 4 percent each. Seven & I Holdings and Recruit Holdings are down more than 3 percent each. Bandai Namco, Fanuc and Omron are slipping almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Pacific Metals and Sumitomo Metal Mining are gaining more than 5 percent each, while Nippon Steel and Toho Zinc are adding more than 4 percent each. JFE Holdings is up more than 3 percent.

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

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated after an early move to the upside on Wednesday but managed to finish the session modestly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed higher for the third straight day after hitting a nearly three-month intraday low on Monday.

The major averages closed well off their highs of the session but still in positive territory. The Dow inched up 38.30 points or 0.1 percent to 36,290.32, the Nasdaq edged up 34.94 points or 0.2 percent to 15,188.39 and the S&P 500 rose 13.28 points or 0.3 percent to 4,726.35.

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

Crude oil prices spiked again on Wednesday, extending the gains from the previous session. Oil prices continued to benefit from optimism about the outlook for energy demand amid indications of tight near-term supply. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery jumped $1.42 or 1.7 percent to $82.64 a barrel.

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