(RTTNews) - The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Thursday despite the overnight gains on Wall Street, while the safe-haven yen strengthened as investors turned cautious ahead to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole symposium later in the day.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 51.04 points or 0.22 percent to 23,239.82, after rising to a high of 23,323.07 in early trades. Japanese stocks edged lower on Wednesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is down 0.3 percent and Fast Retailing is lower by 0.7 percent.
The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Canon is declining more than 1 percent and Sony is down 0.1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is adding 0.4 percent and Panasonic is edging up 0.1 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest is lower by more than 1 percent and Tokyo Electron is down 0.6 percent. In the financial sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are lower by more than 1 percent each.
Among automakers, Toyota and Honda Motor are declining almost 1 percent each. In the oil sector, Inpex is lower by almost 3 percent and Japan Petroleum is losing more than 2 percent after crude oil prices ended flat overnight.
Among the major gainers, Recruit Holdings is gaining almost 7 percent, while Alps Apline, Cyberagent, Fujitsu and Z Holdings are all rising more than 2 percent each.
Conversely, JTEKT Corp. is losing more than 3 percent, while Tokyu Fudosan, NSK and T&D Holdings are all lower by almost 3 percent each.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 105 yen-range on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday, reflecting optimism about the outlook for the economy after a report from the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders spiked by much more than expected in the month of July. Adding to the positive sentiment, biotechnology company Moderna announced promising results from a small trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in elderly patients. Moderna told a government advisory committee that its experimental vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies and appeared to be well tolerated.
While the Dow rose 83.48 points or 0.3 percent to a six-month closing high of 28,331.92, the Nasdaq surged up 198.59 points or 1.7 percent to 11,665.06 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.11 points or 1 percent to 3,478.73.
The major European markets also moved mostly higher on Wednesday. The German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.
Crude oil futures ended roughly flat on Wednesday, with traders weighing the likely impact of Hurricane Laura and data showing another drop in U.S. crude inventories. WTI crude for October delivery inched up $0.04 to $43.39 a barrel.
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