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Japanese Market Modestly Lower

The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Thursday, extending the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 staying above the 26,500 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street, dragged by weakness in exporters, financial and technology stocks amid worries persistent inflation and interest rate hikes could push towards a recession.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 281.84 points or 1.05 percent at the day's low of 26,522.76. Japanese stocks closed significantly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.5 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 1 percent and Toyota is down almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is plunging almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is slipping almost 3 percent and Advantest is declining more than 4 percent.

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

Among the major exporters, Sony is losing more than 2 percent and Canon is declining more than 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Panasonic are edging down 0.2 to 0.3 percent each.

Among the other major losers, Japan Exchange Group is losing almost 5 percent and Taiyo Yuden is down almost 4 percent, while Fanuc, Inpex, Idemitsu Kosan, Japan Steel Works and Murata Manufacturing are declining more than 3 percent each. Showa Denko K.K., Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, JTEKT, Sumco and JGC Holdings are slipping almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Kajima is gaining more than 3 percent.

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

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Wednesday following the sell-off seen during trading on Tuesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged before closing narrowly mixed.

While the Dow rose 82.32 points or 0.3 percent to 31,029.31, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 ended the day slightly lower. The Nasdaq edged down 3.65 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 11,177.89, and the S&P 500 dipped 2.72 points or 0.1 percent to 3,818.83.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slumped by 0.9 percent and the German DAX Index plunged by 1.7 percent.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak with traders looking to the two-day OPEC meeting that began today to discuss supply issues. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $1.98 or 1.8 percent at $109.78 a barrel.

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