Japanese Market Notably Lower; Japan Display Surges

(RTTNews) - The Japanese stock market is notably lower on Friday following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and as investors booked profits after two straight days of gains.

Investors also digested local economic data, including the Bank of Japan's closely-watched Tankan Survey that showed confidence among large Japanese manufacturers was steady in December.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 350.17 points or 1.61 percent to 21,466.02, after touching a low of 21,465.17 earlier. Japanese shares ended higher on Thursday.

The major exporters are weak. Canon is down 0.4 percent, Panasonic is declining 1 percent, Sony is lower by more than 1 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is losing 2 percent.

In the tech sector, Advantest is lower by 3 percent and Tokyo Electron is losing almost 5 percent.

The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple supplier Japan Display is in talks with Chinese businesses and investment funds to get support for its turnaround efforts. Shares of Japan Display are gaining more than 38 percent.

Among the major automakers, Honda is declining more than 1 percent and Toyota is down 0.2 percent.

In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 1 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is down 0.6 percent. In the oil space, Inpex is falling almost 3 percent and Japan Petroleum is down 1 percent despite a surge in crude oil prices overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Keio Corp. and Isetan Mitsukoshi are advancing almost 2 percent each, while Sumitomo Dainippon, Daiichi Sankyo and Nippon Paper Industries are all adding more than 1 percent each.

On the flip side, Tokyo Dome is losing almost 6 percent and Screen Holdings is lower by more than 5 percent. Pacific Metals, JGC Corp. and Japan Steel Works are lower by more than 4 percent each.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan said in its quarterly Tankan Survey that an index of business and manufacturing sentiment in Japan was steady in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The large manufacturing index was unchanged with a score of +19, beating expectations for +18. The outlook came in at +15, shy of forecasts for +17 and down from +19 in the previous three months.

Japan also will see preliminary December results for the manufacturing PMI from Nikkei and final October numbers for industrial production today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the mid 113 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Thursday in choppy trading as traders remained somewhat skeptical the U.S. and China will manage to reach a long-term trade agreement amid ongoing disputes over intellectual property and other key issues. Early buying interest was generated after a report from Reuters indicating some Chinese state-owned companies purchased U.S. soybeans for the first time in more than six months was seen as evidence China is making good on its pledges to the U.S.

While the Dow rose 70.11 points or 0.3 percent to 24,597.38, the Nasdaq fell 27.98 points or 0.4 percent to 7,070.33 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,650.54.

The major European markets moved modestly lower on Thursday. While the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index both closed just below the unchanged line.

Crude oil prices rebounded after early weakness on Thursday, lifted by reports that Saudi Arabia is likely to slash shipments to U.S. refiners. WTI crude for January delivery jumped $1.43 or 2.8 percent to close at $52.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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