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Japanese Market Plunges

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(RTTNews.com) - The Japanese stock market, which resumed trading on Friday after the New Year's holidays, is sharply lower following the overnight sell-off on Wall Street as a revenue warning from tech giant Apple and weak U.S. economic data stoked fears of a global economic slowdown. The safe-haven yen also strengthened, dragging exporters' shares lower.

The Nikkei 225 Index is losing 651.11 points or 3.25 percent to 19,363.66, after falling to a low of 19,241.37 earlier.

Among the major exporters, Panasonic and Mitsubishi Electric are losing 4 percent each, while Sony is declining almost 4 percent and Canon is lower by 3 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is losing almost 10 percent and Tokyo Electron is down more than 6 percent.

Among Apple's suppliers, Taiyo Yuden is falling more than 12 percent and Murata Manufacturing is losing more than 10 percent. Alps Alpine is declining more than 6 percent, TDK Corp. is lower by almost 6 percent and Japan Display is down almost 3 percent.

Among the major automakers, Honda is lower by 2 percent and Toyota is down more than 1 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down almost 1 percent. In the oil space, Inpex and Japan Petroleum are declining almost 1 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Kansai Electric Power and Tokyo Electric Power are rising almost 4 percent each, while Chubu Electric Power and Sky Perfect JSAT are advancing almost 3 percent each.

On the flip side, Toho Zinc, Yaskawa Electric and Minebea Mitsumi are lower by more than 8 percent each.

On the economic front, the latest survey from Nikkei revealed that the manufacturing sector in Japan continued to expand in December, and at a faster rate, with a PMI score of 52.6. That's up from the 15-month low of 52.2 in November, and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 107 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday. Downwardly revised guidance from Apple contributed to the early sell-off, with the tech giant plunging by 10 percent. Negative sentiment was also generated by a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing a much bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of December.

The Dow tumbled 660.02 points or 2.8 percent to 22,686.22, the Nasdaq plunged 202.43 points or 3 percent to 6,463.50 and the S&P 500 slumped 62.14 points or 2.5 percent to 2,447.89.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Thursday. While the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index dropped by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rebounded on Thursday in a volatile session. WTI crude for February added $0.55 or 1.2 percent to close at $47.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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