By RTT News,
December 15, 2013, 09:15:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The Japanese stock market is trading weak on Monday, despite the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey showing an improvement in Japanese big manufacturers' business confidence over the three months to December.
Uncertainty about the outlook for the U.S. Federal's stimulus program appears to be weighing on the market.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is down 122.6 points or 0.8 percent at 15,280.5.
Showa Denko KK is down more than 4.5 percent. Sumitomo Heavy Industries is trading lower by over 3 percent. Nisshin Steel Holdings, Konami Corp., Mazda Motor, Tosoh Corp., Mitsui Chemicals, Sojitz Corp. and Sumco Corp. are all down 2 to 3 percent.
Softbank Corp., Mitsubishi Materials, Yahoo Japan Corp., Sumitomo Chemical, Panasonic Corp. (PC), GS Yuasa Corp., Unitika, Japan Tobacco, Hino Motors, Honda Motor ( HMC ), Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor, Olympus Corp. and JX Holdings are also trading lower by 1 to 2 percent.
Meanwhile, Dainippon Screen Manufacturing, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Alps Electric, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, MEIJI Holdings, Nisshin Seifun Group Inc., Fanuc Corp. and Seven & I Holdings are trading firm, gaining 1 to 3 percent.
According to Tankan survey, Japanese big manufacturers' business confidence improved over the three months to December to its highest level in six years, boding well for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's stimulus policies aimed at ending 15 years of grinding deflation.
But the survey showed companies were less optimistic about the outlook and cautious of boosting capital expenditure, highlighting their uncertainty on whether the economy will sustain its momentum.
The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment improved 4 points from the previous quarter to plus 16, the tankan survey showed on Monday, slightly above a median market forecast of plus 15. It was the fourth straight quarter of improvement and the highest level since December 2007.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded around 103.20 yen in early deals in Tokyo on Monday. The yen is currently trading at 103.05 against the U.S. dollar. On Friday, the yen had hit a five-year low against the greenback, falling to 103.92.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia are all trading weak. South Korea is up marginally, while Australia and New Zealand are trading flat.
On Wall Street, stocks ended mostly flat on Friday, after showing a lack of direction right through session, amid uncertainty about the outlook for the Federal Reserve's stimulus program.
The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing mixed. While the S&P 500 edged down 0.2 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 1,775.3, the Dow inched up 15.9 points or 0.1 percent to 15,755.4 and the Nasdaq crept up 2.6 points or 0.1 percent to 4,001.
Major European markets ended lower on Friday. While the French CAC 40 index dipped by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the German DAX index both edged down by 0.1 percent.
U.S. crude oil ended lower on Friday, as investors mulled over the possibility of the U.S. Federal Reserve tapering its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program at its upcoming meeting scheduled next week. The possibility of excess supply was also a dampener to oil prices following reports of an increase in Libyan oil production with three ports scheduled to open this week.
Crude for January delivery ended down $0.90 or 0.9 percent at $96.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after scaling a high of $97.62 a barrel intraday.
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