Japanese Market Significantly Higher

The Japanese stock market is significantly higher on Monday, extending the gains in the previous three sessions, with the Nikkei 225 moving above the 27,700 level, despite the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday, as the sharp weakening of the yen against the US dollar is expected to make Japanese assets more attractive for foreign investors. Major exporters are also gaining.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is up 267.78 or 0.97 percent at 27,777.24, after touching a high of 27,820.73 earlier. Japanese shares ended modestly higher on Friday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is gaining almost 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is gaining more than 2 percent and Toyota is adding almost 2 percent.

In the tech space, Screen Holdings is edging up 0.2 percent, while Advantest and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing almost 1 percent, Mizuho Financial is declining more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down almost 3 percent.

The major exporters are mostly higher. Panasonic is gaining almost 1 percent, while Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are adding more than 1 percent each. Sony is losing almost 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Mitsubishi Corp. is soaring almost 8 percent, NTN is surging more than 6 percent and Mitsubishi Motors is gaining almost 5 percent, while Sumitomo Realty & Development and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are adding more than 4 percent each. Mazda Motor, Yamaha, Marubeni, Sumitomo and Denso are advancing almost 4 percent each, while Nissan Motor, Mitsui Chemicals, Nippon Sheet Glass, Hino Motors and Toyota Tsusho are all up more than 3 percent each.

Conversely, T&D Holdings is losing almost 3 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 132 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks recovered from initial weakness but showed a significant move back to the downside over the course of the trading session on Friday. With the pullback on the day, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 gave back ground after moving sharply higher for three straight sessions.

The Nasdaq tumbled 193.86 points or 1.6 percent to 12,006.95, the S&P 500 also slumped 43.28 points or 1.0 percent to 4,136.48 and the narrower Dow showed a more modest decrease on the day, with the blue chip index falling 127.93 points or 0.4 percent to 33,926.01.

Meanwhile, the major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.0 percent.

Crude oil prices fell sharply Friday amid concerns about the outlook for fuel demand, with investors weighing the prospects of a recession - while a stronger dollar also weighed. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended lower by $2.49 or 3.3 percent at $73.39 a barrel.

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