Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Tuesday, extending the gains in the previous two sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying below the 26,700 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street overnight, with strength in materials and energy stocks, even as concerns remain about slowing growth, soaring inflation and prospects of tighter policy moves by global central banks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 131.38 points or 0.49 percent at 26,678.43, after touching a high of 26,709.26 and a low of 26,440.62 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Monday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.3 percent, while Toyota is declining almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.4 percent each, while Screen Holdings is gaining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging down 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Sony gaining almost 1 percent, while Canon and Panasonic are adding more than 1 percent each. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Isetan Mitsukoshi is gaining almost 6 percent, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is adding more than 5 percent, Inpex is up almost 5 percent, Mazda Motor is rising more than 4 percent and Mitsui Mining & Smelting is advancing almost 4 percent, while Pacific Metals, Nippon Yusen K.K., ENEOS Holdings, NTN, Mitsubishi Chemical and Haseko are all adding more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Asahi Group is plummeting more than 12 percent, Dentsu Group is losing almost 6 percent, Unitika is slipping more than 4 percent and Nippon Light Metal Holdings is declining almost 4 percent, while Sumco and Japan Steel Works are up more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 129 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended mixed on Monday after a somewhat volatile session as some disappointing economic data from the U.S., Europe and China weighed on sentiment, prompting investors to largely stay cautious.

Despite early weakness, the Dow ended slightly up at 32,223.42, gaining 26.76 points or 0.08 percent. The S&P 500, which managed to emerge into positive territory around mid-afternoon, failed to hold at higher levels and settled with a loss of 15.88 points or 0.39 percent at 4,008.01. The Nasdaq closed with a loss of 142.21 points or 1.2 percent at 11,662.79.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance with investors digesting the latest batch of economic data from the zone. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.63 percent, Germany's DAX slid 0.45 percent and France's CAC 40 ended lower by 0.23 percent.

Crude oil futures shrugged off early weakness and settled sharply higher on Monday, buoyed by rising gasoline prices after a drop in stockpiles. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $3.71 or 3.4 percent at $114.20 a barrel.

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