Japanese Market Declines


The Japanese stock market is declining on Friday and the safe-haven yen strengthened following the negative cues overnight from Wall Street amid renewed uncertainty about the possibility of a U.S.-China trade deal. Data showing an increase in Japan's unemployment rate in September also dampened investor sentiment.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 144.48 points or 0.63 percent to 22,782.56, after touching a low of 22,705.60 in early trades. Japanese shares closed higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are mostly lower as the yen strengthened. Mitsubishi Electric is declining more than 1 percent Sony is lower by 0.4 percent and Canon is edging down 0.1 percent, while Panasonic is gaining almost 4 percent.

On Thursday, Panasonic reported a 11 percent decline in first-half net profit and lowered its full-year sales outlook, while affirming its earnings outlook.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is declining almost 1 percent, while Fast Retailing is adding 0.2 percent.

Among auto stocks, Toyota Motor is lower by 0.5 percent and Honda Motor is edging down 0.1 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is rising more than 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is advancing almost 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is lower by more than 3 percent and Inpex is losing almost 3 percent after crude oil prices extended losses to a fourth straight session overnight.

Among the major gainers, Tokyo Seikan Group is gaining more than 9 percent, and Hitachi Zosen is rising more than 7 percent.

On the flip side, JTEKT Corp., NTN Corp. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries are losing more than 4 percent, while Denso Corp. is lower by almost 4 percent.

In economic news, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in September. That exceeded expectations for 2.2 percent, which would have been unchanged from the August reading.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower on Thursday amid renewed uncertainty about the potential for a long-term U.S.-China trade deal. A new report from Bloomberg said Chinese officials are casting doubts about reaching a comprehensive long-term trade agreement. In an apparent effort to calm the markets, President Donald Trump tweeted shortly before the start of trading that the U.S. and China are working on a new site to sign phase one of the trade deal.

The Dow slid 140.46 points or 0.5 percent to 27,046.23, the Nasdaq edged down 11.62 points or 0.1 percent to 8,292.36 and the S&P 500 fell 9.21 points or 0.3 percent to 3,037.56.

The major European markets all moved to the downside on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent and the German DAX Index dipped by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil futures drifted down sharply on Thursday, extending losses to a fourth successive session, amid concerns over outlook for energy demand due to slowing economies and uncertainty about U.S.-China trade deal. WTI crude for December delivery slumped $0.88 or about 1.6 percent to $54.18 a barrel.

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