The stock market in Tokyo ended lower on Tuesday, as investors preferred to offload shares on the last trading day of the fiscal year ahead of the Tankan Survey slated to be released tomorrow. Shrugging off the weak closing in the U.S markets, the markets opened higher and advanced on expectations of a third stimulus package from the Government and also positive economic data from South Korea. However, the euphoria faded on speculation that the package might get delayed after the Prime Minister Aso instructed the Government to finalize plans for a stimulus package. The Prime Minister would be attending the G20 conference in London and will not be available for the next 2 days, and the announcement might get delayed until his return.
On Monday, the Dow closed down 254.16 points or 3.3% at 7,522, the Nasdaq closed down 43.40 points or 2.8% at 1,502 and the S&P 500 closed down 28.41 points or 3.5% at 787.
In Asian trading, crude oil rose 1.22% or $0.59 to $49.00 a barrel. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed at $48.41 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday, down $3.97 a barrel.
The markets, having opened higher and traded in the positive territory until mid-morning, reversed trend in early after-noon trading on information about the likely delay in the announcement of the stimulus package. The euphoria paved way for skepticism and investors sold off shares on the last trading day of the fourth quarter and fiscal year, ahead of Tankan survey.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index declined 126.59 points or 1.54% to close at 8,110, and the broader Topix Index of all First section issues shed 16 points to close at 778.
Among a raft of economic data on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that Japan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate came in at 4.4% in February, slightly higher that forecasts for a 4.3% increase after the 4.1% gain in January.
All household spending was down 3.5% year-on-year versus expectations for a 4.7% annual fall after the 5.9% contraction in January. Wage earner household spending was off an annual 1%. The propensity to consume came in at 75.7%, up 1.6 points on year. It was 87.1% in January.
Financial stocks ended weaker. Mitsubishi UFJ declined 2.86%, Mizuho Financial lost 3.05%, Sumitomo Mitsui decreased 6.83%, and Resona Holdings shed 3.32%. Brokerage Nomura ended down by 5.53%.
Exporters also ended weaker. Canon lost 2.73%, Sony ended down 3.24% and Sharp decreased 6.27%. However, automakers ended mixed. While Toyota lost 0.64%, Honda gained 0.65%
Oil-related stocks showed mixed sentiment. While Inpex edged up 0.29%%, Nippon Oil lost 1.22% and Showa Shell decreased 2.68%. Meanwhile, trading house Mitsubishi Corp. shed 2.65%, Sumitomo Corp. lost 3.66% and Itochu gave up 1.85%.
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