Japanese Market Significantly Higher

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Friday, recouping some of the sharp losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving just below the 26,700 level, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street overnight, as traders indulged in bargain hunting after Thursday's sell-off, even as rising worries about high inflation and tightening monetary policies remain.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 263.44 points or 1.00 percent to 26,666.28, after touching a high of 26,713.37 earlier. Japanese shares closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is adding almost 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is adding more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Screen Holdings is edging up 0.3 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 1 percent. Mizuho Financial is flat.

Among major exporters, Sony is gaining almost 1 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is adding more than 1 percent and Panasonic is advancing almost 3 percent, while Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Seiko Epson is soaring more than 8 percent, Japan Steel Works is surging almost 6 percent and Pacific Metals is rising more than 5 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, NTN and Toho Zinc are adding more than 4 percent each. Sumitomo Metal Mining and Mitsui Mining & Smelting are up almost 4 percent each, while Nippon Yusen K.K., NSK and Dai Nippon Printing are rising more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyo Gas and NEC are losing more than 3 percent each, while Keyence is down almost 3 percent.

In economic news, consumer prices in Japan were up 2.5 percent on year in April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 2.4 percent and was up sharply from 1.2 percent in March. Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, was up 2.1 percent on year - in line with expectations and up from 0.8 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, overall inflation rose 0.4 percent - unchanged from the March reading.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 128 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw substantial volatility during trading on Thursday following the sell-off seen in the previous session. The major averages showed wild swings over the course of the session before closing in negative territory.

While the Nasdaq dipped 29.66 points or 0.3 percent to 11,388.50, the Dow and the S&P 500 once again ended the session at their lowest closing levels in over a year. The Dow slid 236.94 points or 0.8 percent at 31,253.13 and the S&P 500 fell 22.89 points or 0.6 percent to 3,900.79.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index plunged 1.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.3 percent and the German DAX Index slid by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices rallied sharply on Thursday amid expectations of a pickup in energy demand on reports Chinese officials are planning to ease restrictions in Shanghai. The dollar's weakness also contributed significantly to the rise in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by $2.62 or 2.4 percent at $112.21 a barrel.

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