Japanese Market Sharply Lower

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Wednesday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei index staying above the 27,700 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, with weakness in exporters, technology and financial stocks. Lingering concerns about the impact of the rapid spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant remain.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 537.96 points or 1.90 percent at 27,719.29, after hitting a low of 27,689.98 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent and Toyota is declining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing almost 3 percent, Advantest is declining more than 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is slipping almost 5 percent.

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

Among the major exporters, Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent, Sony is plunging almost 9 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down more than 1 percent, while Canon is flat.

Sony sank after gaming rival Microsoft said it will buy developer Activision Blizzard in a record $68.7 billion deal for the industry.

Among the other major losers, Murata Manufacturing is losing almost 6 percent and Taiyo Yuden is down more than 5 percent, while Fuji Electric and Z Holdings are declining more than 4 percent each. Japan Exchange Group and Nippon Yusen K.K. are slipping almost 4 percent each, while TDK, Denso, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Shionogi & Co. are sliding more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Konami Holdings is gaining 2.5 percent.

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

On Wall Street, stocks showed a significant weakness over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. The weakness followed a surge in Treasury yields due to concerns about imminent interest rate hikes, spooking investors and encouraging them to cash in.

The major averages opened sharply lower and remained in the red throughout the trading day. The Dow plummeted 543.34 points or 1.51 percent to finish at 35,368.34, while the NASDAQ tumbled 268.15 points or 1.56 percent to close at 14,506.90 and the S&P 500 sank 85.74 points or 1.84 percent to end at 4,577.11.

The major European markets also showed notable weakness on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 ended 0.63 percent down, Germany's DAX slid 1.01 percent and France's CAC 40 shed 0.94 percent.

Crude oil prices spiked on Tuesday, extending gains from the previous session. West Texas Intermediate Crude for February delivery climbed $1.39 or 1.63 percent to close at $86.82 per barrel.

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