Japanese Market Sharply Lower; Down 2.5%

(RTTNews) - Giving up all of the gains in the previous session, the Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Friday, following the negative cues from Wall Street overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 is falling 2.5 percent to below the 38,800 level, with weakness across most sectors led by index heavyweights and technology stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 992.46 points or 2.50 percent to 38,780.68, after hitting a low of 38,774.24 earlier. Japanese stocks closed significantly higher on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is losing more than 3 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is down more than 2 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent and Toyota is declining more than 2 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 5 percent each, while Screen Holdings is declining more than 4 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is losing more than 2 percent, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mizuho Financial are declining almost 2 percent each.

Among major exporters, Mitsubishi Electric is losing 2.5 percent and Panasonic is down 1.5 percent, while Sony and Canon are slipping more than 1 percent each.

Among other major losers, Tokyo Electric Power is plunging almost 9 percent and Socionext is sliding 6.5 percent, while Credit Saison and Minebea Mitsumi are losing almost 5 percent each. DeNA is down more than 4 percent, while Konica Minolta, Ebara, M3, Keyence, Yaskawa Electric and Hoya are declining almost 4 percent each. Lasertec is slipping more than 3 percent.

Conversely, there are no other major gainers.

In economic news, the average household spending in Japan was down 0.5 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Friday - standing at 279,868 yen. That beat expectations for a decline of 2.8 percent following the 6.3 percent slide in January.

On a monthly basis, household spending rose 1.4 percent - again exceeding expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent after slumping 2.1 percent a month earlier. The average monthly income per household stood at 561,495 yen, down 2.5 percent on year.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 151 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a strong performance throughout much of the trading day on Thursday but came under substantial pressure in the latter part of the session. The major averages plummeted in the final two hours of trading, ending the day sharply lower.

The major averages saw continued weakness going into the close, finishing the session nearly their worst levels of the day. The Nasdaq tumbled 228.38 points or 1.4 percent to 16,049.08, while the S&P 500 slumped 64.28 points or 1.2 percent to 5,147.21 and the Dow plunged 530.16 points or 1.4 percent to 38,596.98, closing lower for the fourth straight session..

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.2 percent, although the French CAC 40 Index closed just below the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices moved higher on Thursday, extending recent gains amid concerns about supply disruptions due to geopolitical tensions. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $1.16 or 1.4 percent at $86.59 a barrel, gaining for a fifth straight session.

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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