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Japanese Market Slightly Higher

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Monday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 28,200 level, following the mixed cues from Wall Street on Friday, with gains in financial stocks, even as a better than expected US monthly jobs data again raised concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 27.11 or 0.10 percent at 28,202.98, after touching a high of 28,258.29 earlier. Japanese shares ended significantly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.4 percent and Toyota is losing more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are losing almost 1 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 1 percent. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 2 percent.

The major exporters are mixed, with Sony and Panasonic edging down 0.3 to 0.5 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.4 percent and Canon is gaining almost 4 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Nippon Sheet Glass is skyrocketing more than 18 percent, Fujikura is soaring almost 15 percent, Suzuki Motor is surging almost 8 percent and Mitsui E&S Holdings is advancing almost 7 percent, while Inpex, Daiichi Sankyo and Chiba Bank are gaining almost 5 percent each. BANDAI NAMCO is adding more than 4 percent, while Teijin and Fukuoka Financial are up almost 4 percent. Isuzu Motors and Yamaha Motor are up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, Nippon Paper is plummeting more than 9 percent and MS&AD Insurance is slipping almost 7 percent, while Tokio Marine and Sumitomo Heavy Industries are sliding more than 5 percent each. Sharp is losing almost 5 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Mitsubishi Estate are declining almost 4 percent. NEXON and Shiseido are down more than 3 percent.

In economic news, overall bank lending in Japan was up 1.8 percent on year in July, the Bank of Japan said on Monday, coming in at 588.232 trillion yen. That follows the downwardly revised 1.2 percent increase in June (originally 1.3 percent).

Excluding trusts, bank lending was up 2.1 percent on year to 511.898 trillion yen, while lending from trusts was roughly flat at 76.333 trillion yen. Lending from foreign banks jumped 2.9 percent on year to 3.422 trillion yen after slipping 1.3 percent in June.

Meanwhile, Japan posted a current account deficit of 132.4 billion yen in June, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. That beat expectations for a shortfall of 703.8 billion yen following the 128.4 billion yen surplus in May. Imports were up 49.2 percent on year to 9.697 trillion yen, while exports advanced an annual 20.4 percent to 8.583 trillion yen for a trade deficit of 1.114 trillion yen. The capital account showed a surplus of 135.8 billion yen, while the financial account saw a deficit of 588.9 billion yen.

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

On Wall Street, stocks saw substantial volatility over the course of the trading day on Friday after moving sharply lower early in the session. The major averages showed wild swings as the day progressed before eventually closing mixed for the second straight day.

While the Dow rose 76.65 points or 0.2 percent to 32,803.47 after tumbling by more than 200 points in early trading, the Nasdaq fell 63.03 points or 0.5 percent to 12,657.55 and the S&P 500 dipped 6.75 points or 0.2 percent to 4,145.19.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell by 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Friday, lifted by the strong jobs report, but still posted a weekly loss amid concerns about demand due to economic slowdown. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended higher by $0.47 or 0.5 percent at $89.01 a barrel.

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