Japanese Market Slightly Higher

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher on Friday after briefly slipping in to the red, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 staying below the 27,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets overnight, with gains in exporters and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 15.54 points or 0.06 percent to 27,378.29, after touching a high of 27,452.67 earlier. Japanese stocks closed slightly lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.2 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda is edging up 0.2 percent, while Toyota is edging down 0.2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Screen Holdings are losing almost 1 percent each, while Tokyo Electron is edging down 0.1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mizuho Financial is gaining almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are edging up 0.3 to 0.5 percent.

Among major exporters, Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric and Sony are gaining more than 1 percent each, while Canon is flat.

Among the other major gainers, Shin-Etsu Chemical is gaining more than 4 percent, and Nidec is adding almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines are losing almost 5 percent each, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is declining almost 4 percent and Fuji Electric is down more than 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 129 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks fluctuated early in the session on Thursday but moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day. With the upward move, the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped to a four-month closing high, while the S&P 500 reached its best closing level in over a month.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session at their best levels of the day. While the Nasdaq surged 199.06 points or 1.8 percent to 11,512.41, the S&P 500 shot up 44.21 points or 1.1 percent to 4,060.43 and the Dow climbed 205.57 points or 0.6 percent to 33,949.41.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil prices showed a strong move to the upside on Thursday, benefitting from optimism about the outlook for demand following the release of upbeat U.S. economic data. West Texas Intermediate Crude for March delivery jumped $0.86 or 1.1 percent to $81.01 a barrel.

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