Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher in choppy trading on Monday, extending the slight gains in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from global markets on Friday, as traders remain cautious amid interest rate decisions by the US Fed, Bank of England and European Central Bank later this week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 32.73 or 0.12 percent at 27,415.29, after touching a high of 27,486.42 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is flat and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining almost 1 percent and Toyota is edging up 0.5 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is edging up 0.2 percent, while Advantest is edging down 0.1 percent and Tokyo Electron is flat. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are losing almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is edging down 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic is losing almost 1 percent, while Canon, Sony and Mitsubishi Electric are edging down 0.2 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Yamato Holdings is soaring more than 8 percent, Shin-Etsu Chemical is gaining almost 4 percent and Fanuc is adding more than 3 percent.

Conversely, there are no major losers.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 130 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw considerable volatility over the course of the trading session on Friday but managed to close mostly higher. The tech-heavy Nasdaq showed a strong move to the upside, ending the session at its best closing level in over four months.

The major averages pulled back well off their highs going into the close. While the Nasdaq jumped 109.30 points or 1.0 percent to 11,621.71, the S&P 500 rose 10.13 points or 0.3 percent to 4,070.56 and the Dow inched up 28.67 points or 0.1 percent to 33,978.08.

The major European markets also showed modest moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed just above the unchanged line, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both inch up by 0.1 percent.

Crude oil prices fell Friday amid uncertainty about the outlook for oil demand. Profit taking after recent gains and indications that oil supply from Russia will surge also weighed on oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for March sank $1.33 or 1.6 percent at $79.68 a barrel. WTI crude futures shed 2.4 percent in the week.

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