Japanese Market Sharply Lower

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Wednesday, giving up some of the gains in the previous four sessions, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,700 level, following the broadly negative cues overnight from Wall Street, dragged by exporters and technology stocks, which mirrored their peers on tech-heavy Nasdaq amid discouraging US consumer confidence data.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 312.90 points or 1.16 percent at 26,736.57, after hitting a low of 26,687.47 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Tuesday.

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

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is losing almost 3 percent, Tokyo Electron is declining 3.5 percent and Advantest is down almost 3 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.5 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging up 0.2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is edging down 0.3 percent.

Among the major exporters, Sony is losing more than 2 percent, Canon is declining almost 3 percent, Mitsubishi Electric is edging down 0.2 percent and Panasonic is down almost 1 percent.

Among the other major losers, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is slipping almost 5 percent, while Taiyo Yuden, Murata Manufacturing and Yaskawa Electric are losing more than 3 percent each. Nippon Yusen K.K. and Showa Denko K.K. are declining almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Tokyo Electric Power is surging more than 5 percent and Japan Steel Works is gaining 3.5 percent.

In economic news, the value of retail sales in Japan was up 3.6 percent on year in May, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Wednesday - coming in at 12.388 trillion yen. That exceeded expectations for an increase of 3.3 percent following the upwardly revised 3.1 percent increase in April (originally 3.0 percent). On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, retail sales rose 0.6 percent, slowing from 1.0 percent in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the 136 yen-range on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a substantial move to the downside during trading on Tuesday, coming under pressure after failing to sustain an early upward move. The major averages all moved notably lower, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq posting a particularly steep loss.

The major averages finished the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow tumbled 491.27 points or 1.6 percent to 30,936.99, the Nasdaq plummeted 343.01 points or 3 percent to 11,181.54 and the S&P 500 plunged 78.56 points or 2 percent to 3,821.55.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index increased by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index rose by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Tuesday, extending recent gains after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates indicated that they can barely increase oil production. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for August ended higher by $2.19 or 2 percent at $111.76 per barrel.

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