Japanese Market Drifts Lower

(RTTNews) – The Japanese stock market opened higher on Friday following news that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package to kick-start the world’s largest economy. However, the market slipped into negative territory as investors booked profits after strong gains in recent sessions.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 75.08 points or 0.26 percent to 28,623.18, after touching a high of 28,820.50 in early trades. The Japanese market closed higher for a fifth day on Thursday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is adding 0.4 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining more than 2 percent. In the tech space, Advantest is gaining more than 4 percent and Tokyo Electron is higher by almost 4 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Mitsubishi Electric, Sony and Panasonic are declining more than 1 percent each, while Canon is gaining more than 7 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is adding 0.7 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is up 0.3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing more than 2 percent and Toyota is lower by more than 1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Screen Holdings is gaining more than 6 percent, while Oki Electric Industry and Seiko Epson are rising more than 4 percent each.

Conversely, Hino Motors is losing almost 4 percent, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Isuzu Motors, Denso Corp. and Nexon Co. are lower by more than 3 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will provide November figures for its tertiary industry index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 103 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks saw modest strength for most of the trading session on Thursday amid optimism about additional fiscal stimulus. However, stocks gave back ground going into the close of trading, coinciding with an advance by treasury yields, after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested that the economy could return to pre-pandemic levels sooner than expected due to unprecedented fiscal stimulus and the Fed’s aggressive intervention.

The Dow slipped 68.95 points or 0.2 percent to 30,991.52, the Nasdaq edged down 16.31 points or 0.1 percent to 13,112.64 and the S&P 500 fell 14.30 points or 0.4 percent to 3,795.54.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Thursday. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rebounded from early losses to end notably higher on Thursday on hopes big stimulus from the Biden administration and the Covid vaccination drive will help lift energy demand. WTI crude for February ended up by $0.66 or about 1.3 percent at $53.57 a barrel, the highest settlement since mid-February 2020.

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