World Markets

Japanese Market Recovers After Weak Start; SoftBank Corp. Tumbles On Debut

( - The Japanese stock market recovered after a weak start and is modestly higher on Wednesday, while a weaker yen weighed on exporters' shares. Investors also remained cautious ahead of the U.S.Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision due later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 24.02 points or 0.11 percent to 21,139.47, after touching a low of 20,880.73 earlier. Japanese shares hit a nine-month low on Tuesday.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Sony is losing more than 1 percent, Panasonic is declining 0.7 percent and Canon is down 0.3 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is unchanged.

Shares of SoftBank Corp., SoftBank Group's mobile unit, are losing almost 8 percent in their trading debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The company's IPO was the largest in Japan and the second-largest in the world.

In the tech sector, Advantest is rising more than 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron is down 3 percent. Among the major automakers, Honda and Toyota are advancing almost 1 percent each.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down almost 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is lower by more than 1 percent. In the oil space, Inpex is losing more than 6 percent and Japan Petroleum is falling more than 4 percent after the overnight plunge in crude oil prices.

Among the other major gainers, Fujitsu is rising almost 3 percent, while Suzuki Motor and Kuraray are higher by more than 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Showa Denko is losing almost 4 percent, while Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Concordia Financial are declining more than 3 percent each. Showa Shell is lower by 3 percent.

In economic news, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 737.3 billion yen in November. That missed forecasts for a deficit of 630.0 billion yen following the 450.1 billion yen shortfall in October.

Exports were up just 0.1 percent on year, shy of expectations for a gain of 1.1 percent following the 8.2 percent spike in the previous month. Imports were up an annual 12.5 percent versus expectations for an increase of 12.0 percent and down from 19.9 percent a month earlier.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 112 yen-range on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Tuesday in a volatile session partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels on the heels of the sharp drop seen over the two previous sessions. However, traders remained on edge ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 hit its lowest intraday level in over a year but ended the up just 0.22 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 2,546.16. The Dow rose 82.66 points or 0.4 percent to 23,675.64 and the Nasdaq climbed 30.18 points or 0.5 percent to 6,783.91.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Tuesday. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices fell on Tuesday to extend losses for a third straight session amid growing concerns around future oil demand in the face of rising risks to global growth. WTI crude for January delivery plunged $3.64 or 7.3 percent to a fifteen-month closing low of $46.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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