Japanese Market Modestly Higher

The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Wednesday, recouping the losses in the previous session, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,400 level, following the broadly positive cues from Wall Street overnight, with gains across most sectors, led by strong gains in technology and financial stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 100.36 points or 0.37 percent at 27,427.47, after touching a high of 27,547.67 earlier. Japanese stocks ended modestly lower on Tuesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining almost 2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 1 percent and Toyota is adding almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is surging more than 5 percent, Advantest is advancing almost 5 percent and Tokyo Electron is gaining almost 2 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is gaining almost 2 percent, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding almost 1 percent and Mizuho Financial is edging up 0.5 percent.

Among the major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are edging up 0.2 to 0.5 percent each, while Sony is gaining almost 1 percent. Panasonic is flat.

Among the other major gainers, Alps Alpine is surging almost 6 percent, while Tokyo Gas and Recruit Holdings are gaining almost 4 percent each. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is adding more than 3 percent, while Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Rakuten Group and Mitsubishi Logistics are advancing almost 3 percent each.

Conversely, Toto and Seiko Epson are losing almost 5 percent each, while Sumitomo Pharma, OKUMA and Kansai Electric Power are down more than 3 percent each. East Japan Railway and West Japan Railway are declining almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to contract in January, and at a steady pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Wednesday with a manufacturing PMI score of 48.9. That's unchanged from the December reading and remains beneath the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

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

On Wall Street, stocks climbed higher on Tuesday thanks to sustained buying across the board after a slightly cautious start. Investors picked up stocks right through the day's session, digesting a slew of stronger than expected earnings updates and the latest batch of economic data.

The major averages all ended with strong gains. The Dow ended with a gain of 368.95 points or 1.09 percent at 34,086.04, the S&P 500 surged 58.83 points or 1.46 percent to 4,076.60 and the Nasdaq climbed 190.74 points or 1.67 percent to 11,584.55.

The major European markets also turned in a mixed performance on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 drifted down 0.17 percent, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both edged up slightly.

Crude oil futures moved higher on Tuesday on expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at a slower pace, so the greenback might strengthen less than expected. West Texas International Crude oil futures for March ended higher by $0.97 or 1.3 percent at $78.87 a barrel.

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