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Japanese Market Slightly Lower

The Japanese stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading on Thursday after being in the green in most of the morning session, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,100 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from the global markets, amid worries persistent inflation and interest rate hikes could push towards a recession.

The Bank of Japan's April policy meeting showed many board members stressed the need to maintain the central bank's massive stimulus program to support a still-fragile economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 17.39 points or 0.07 percent at 26,132.16, after hitting a low of 26,104.37 and a high of 26,401.97 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing are gaining almost 2 percent each. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are losing almost 1 percent each.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each, while Advantest is flat.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging up 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

Among the major exporters, Sony, Panasonic and Canon are losing almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is gaining more than 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, Shionogi & Co. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are losing almost 5 percent each, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is down more than 3 percent. Sumitomo Metal Mining and Tosoh are declining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyu and Sumitomo Pharma are gaining more than 3 percent each, while IHI, Tokio Marine and Chugai Pharmaceutical are adding almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in June, albeit at a slower rate, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Thursday with a manufacturing PMI score of 52.7. That's down from 53.3 in May, although it remains above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also showed that the services index improved to 54.2 in June from 52.6 in May, while the composite index rose to 53.2from 52.3.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 135 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday after recovering from an early move to the downside. he major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing modestly lower.

The major averages finished the session well off their early lows but still in negative territory. The Dow dipped 47.12 points or 0.2 percent to 30,483.13, the Nasdaq slipped 16.22 points or 0.2 percent to 11,053.08 and the S&P 500 edged down 4.90 points or 0.1 percent to 3,759.89.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures tumbled on Wednesday amid concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to slowing global growth following sharp interest rate hikes by central banks. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $3.33 or 3 percent at $106.19 a barrel, the lowest settlement in six weeks.

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