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Japanese Market Sharply Lower

The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Friday, giving up all of the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 falling below the 27,700 level, following the mixed cues from global markets overnight, with weakness across all sectors, led by exporters and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 560.36 points or 1.99 percent to 27,665.72, after hitting a low of 27,662.12. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging down 0.5 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is losing more than 1 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are declining more than 2 percent each.

In the tech space, Advantest, Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are edging down 0.2 to 0.4 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are losing almost 2 percent each, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 1 percent.

Among major exporters, Canon is losing 2.5 percent, Sony is declining almost 2 percent, Panasonic is slipping almost 3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is down more than 3 percent.

Among the other major losers, Daiichi Sankyo, Mitsubishi Motors and T&D Holdings are losing almost 5 percent each, while Fujikura, Japan Steel Works, NTN and Minebea Mitsumi are slipping more than 4 percent each. MS&AD Insurance Group and Olympus are down almost 4 percent each, while JFE Holdings, Citizen Watch, Yamaha Motor, JGC Holdings, Sompo Holdings and Seiko Epson are declining more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, CyberAgent is surging almost 6 percent.

In economic news, the monetary base in Japan was down 6.4 percent on year in November, the Bank of Japan said on Friday - coming in at 616.820 trillion yen. That follows the 6.9 percent annual contraction in October. The seasonally adjusted monetary base was up 17.0 percent after tumbling 33.0 percent in the previous month.

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

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Thursday after skyrocketing over the course of Wednesday's session. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line, while the narrower Dow gave back ground.

The major averages eventually ended the session mixed. While the Nasdaq crept up 14.45 points or 0.1 percent to 11,482.45, the Dow slid 194.76 points or 0.6 percent to 34,395.01 and the S&P 500 edged down 3.54 points or 0.1 percent to 4,076.57.

The major European also turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index crept up 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index climbed 0.7 percent.

Crude oil futures settled higher Thursday on easing concerns about the outlook for energy demand, while a weaker dollar amid rising prospects of smaller rate hikes by the Fed also contributed to the increase in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January gained $0.67 or 0.8 percent at $81.22 a barrel.

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