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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Friday, extending the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 moving above the 26,300 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, aided by strength in technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 186.76 points or 0.71 percent to 26,358.01, after touching a high of 26,390.99 earlier. Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Thursday.

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

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining 3.5 percent, Screen Holdings is adding 2.5 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing almost 2 percent and Mizuho Financial is declining more than 2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic is edging up 0.4 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is adding almost 1 percent, while Sony is edging down 0.3 percent and Canon is losing more than 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, M3 is surging almost 6 percent, while Daikin Industries and Shionogi & Co. are gaining more than 4 percent each. Shin-Etsu Chemical and Ajinomoto are adding almost 4 percent each, while CyberAgent is up more than 3 percent.

Conversely, Mitsubishi Motors is plummeting almost 7 percent, IHI is plunging almost 6 percent, Subaru is losing more than 5 percent and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is declining almost 5 percent, while Hitachi Construction Machinery and Sompo Holdings is down more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan were up 2.5 percent on year in May, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday. That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, overall inflation rose 0.2 percent - again in line with expectations and slowing from 0.4 percent in the previous month. Core CPI - which excludes the volatile prices of food - climbed 2.1 percent on year, matching forecasts and unchanged from the April reading.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 134 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks extended the volatility seen in the previous session, fluctuating over the course of the trading day on Friday. Benefiting from the some late-day strength, the major averages all ended the session firmly in positive territory.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Dow climbed 194.23 points or 0.6 percent to 30,677.36, the Nasdaq surged 179.11 points or 1.6 percent to 11,232.19 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.84 points or 1 percent at 3,795.73.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent.

Oil futures slid on Thursday, losing ground for a second straight session on concerns about outlook for energy demand amid rising possibility of a recession. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $1.92 or 1.8 percent at $104.27 a barrel.

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