RTTNews - Buoyed by overnight gains on Wall Street, the Japanese stock market opened higher on Friday with investors looking for some bargain hunting after the previous session's decline. Some economic data released by the Japanese government this morning have fallen short of expectations but the mood is fairly positive right now.

The Japanese benchmark index Nikkei 225 is currently up by 72 points or 0.7% at 10,546. The index had ended with a sharp loss of 165.7 points, or 1.56%, at 10,474 on Thursday.

Among automobile stocks, Honda Motor, Isuzu Motors, Hino Motors and Mazda Motor are trading with notable gains, while Suzuki Motor and Mitsubishi Motors are exhibiting weakness.
In the banking space, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Bank of Yokohama, Resona Holdings, Chuo Mitsui Trust, Shinsei Bank and Mizuho Financial are trading firm.

Steel stocks are trading mixed, while non-ferrous metals, machinery and electric machinery stocks are mostly trading in positive territory this morning.

Chemicals stocks Nissan Chemical Industries, Shiseido, Nippon Kayaku, Mitsui Chemicals and Showa Denka K.K. are trading notably higher. Pharma stocks are also trading firm.

All Nippon Airways Co. rose nearly 2% this morning after Boeing Co. said on Thursday it will supply its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner to the company in October-December 2010. However, following resistance at higher levels, the stock has pared gains and is currently trading just modestly higher.

Saizeriya Co. shares rose as much as 35 yen to hit 1,523 yen this morning on reports that the company will likely book a group operating profit of slightly more than 9 billion yen in the year ending August 2010, up about 10% from what is forecast for the current fiscal year.

Shares of Otsuka Corp. moved up sharply this morning, climbing as much as 17% from Thursday at one point to 6,200 yen, hitting a year-to-date high for the second straight day. The stock rose on reports that the system integrator will likely begin offering cloud computing services to business clients. Though it has drifted down to 5,750 yen now, the stock is still up with a hefty gain of 8.5%.

Japan's core consumer price index fell 2.2% year on year to 100.1 in July, the sharpest drop since comparable data was first recorded in 1971, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said today. This was the fifth straight month of decline for the index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices.

Meanwhile in August, core CPI for the Tokyo metropolitan area, considered a bellwether for nationwide price trends, fell 1.9% to 99.7, also the sharpest decline since 1971.

Household spending averaged 285,078 yen in July, down 2% year on year in real terms and marking the first decline in three months, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in another report. Meanwhile, consumption by households headed by corporate wage earners fell a seasonally adjusted 1.6% to 316,623 yen, making for the second straight decline.

According to another release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage point from the previous month to a record 5.7% in July, surpassing the previous record high of 5.5% logged in April 2003. Meanwhile, the ratio of job offers to job seekers declined 0.01 point on the month to 0.42, marking a new low for the third consecutive month.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 93 yen zone this morning, slightly up from its late Thursday quotes in New York. The yen is currently trading at 93.76 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan is up sharply with its benchmark index gaining over 1.5%. Korea, Australia and New Zealand are also trading with notable gains. Shanghai and Singapore markets are exhibiting some weakness. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly lower on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks ended with modest gains on Thursday despite an initial retreat into the red. Though stocks failed to sustain at higher levels due to uncertainty about the economic outlook, the Dow managed to sign off on a positive note for the eighth successive session.

The Dow advanced by 37.11 points, or 0.4%, to 9,580.63, the Nasdaq gained 3.30 points, or 0.2%, to close at 2,027.73 and the S&P 500 edged up by 2.86 points, or 0.3%, to 1,030.98.

Major European markets closed on the downside on Thursday. The German DAX index ended lower by about 1%, while the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index both fell by 0.5%.

After showing a notable decline in early trading, crude oil prices rallied following a downturn in the value of the U.S. dollar. Crude for October delivery ended the session up US$1.06 at US$72.49 a barrel, after falling as low as US$69.83 earlier in the day.

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