Japanese Market Advances

(RTTNews) - The Japanese stock market is advancing on Friday after sharp losses in the previous session and following the overnight rebound on Wall Street amid upbeat corporate earnings results as well as economic data and following moves by trading platforms to restrict speculative retail trading.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 104.62 points or 0.37 percent to 28,302.04, after touching a low of 28,134.58 earlier. The Japanese market closed sharply lower on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is down 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is advancing more than 1 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is rising more than 2 percent and Tokyo Electron is adding more than 1 percent.

The major exporters are mixed despite a weaker yen. Canon is losing more than 4 percent and Panasonic is tumbling almost 3 percent, while Sony is adding more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is edging up 0.1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 0.5 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.2 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is rising almost 1 percent, while Honda is lower by 0.3 percent.

Toyota said its worldwide sales for fiscal 2020 dropped 11.3 percent year-over-year to 9.53 million units, but the automaker ranked first among the world's automakers in global auto sales for the first time in five years.

Among the other major gainers, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is gaining almost 8 percent and Fuji Electric is rising more than 6 percent, while Taiyo Yuden and Fujistu are higher by more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, Nissan Motor, Sharp Corp and Mitsubishi Motors are all losing more than 3 percent each, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and IHI Corp. are lower by almost 3 percent each.

In economic news, industrial production in Japan dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent on month in December. That missed forecasts for a decline of 1.5 percent following the 0.5 percent fall in November.

The unemployment rate in Japan was a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent in December, unchanged from the November reading, but shy of forecasts for 3.0 percent.

Overall consumer prices in the Tokyo region were down 0.5 percent on year in January, following the 1.3 percent drop in December. Core CPI was down 0.4 percent on year versus expectations for a fall of 0.6 percent, following the 0.9 percent decline in the previous month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 104 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday as traders looked to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels following the steep drop seen on Wednesday. Buying interest may also have been generated by a report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected decline in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended January 23. The Commerce Department also released a report showing U.S. economic growth matched economist estimates in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The Dow surged up 300.19 points or 1 percent to 30,603.36, the Nasdaq climbed 66.56 points or 0.5 percent to 13,337.16 and the S&P 500 jumped 36.61 points or 1 percent to 3,787.38.

The major European markets turned in a mixed performance on Thursday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil futures settled lower on Thursday as worries about the outlook for energy demand outweighed recent data showing a substantial drop in crude inventories in the U.S. last week. WTI crude for March ended lower by $0.51 or about 1 percent at $52.34 a barrel.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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