The Japanese stock market was trading lower on Monday, following the negative cues from Wall Street Friday. Additionally, real estate stocks are trading lower after Azel Corp. said it has decided to file for bankruptcy.

In early morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index was losing 61.65 points or 0.71% to 8,565.32 and the broader Topix Index of all First Section Issues was down 5.38 points or 0.65% to 819.15.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday as investors cashed in on some of the recent gains. Some of the weakness came as investors digested mixed economic news and kept a close eye on a meeting between President Obama and the CEOs of the nation's biggest banks.

Crude oil plunged on Friday as traders bet a recent rally was overdone. The decline erased most of the gains from the week. Light sweet crude ended at $52.38 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $1.96 for the session.

The Japanese stock market closed in negative territory on Friday as investors paused to lock in profits following a sharp rally over the past few trading sessions. The Nikkei 225 Index shed 9.36 points, or 0.11%, to close at 8,627 and the Topix Index declined 2.28 points to close at 824.

On the economic front on Monday, industrial output in Japan plummeted by 9.4% in February compared to the previous month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. That was slightly worse than forecasts that called for a decline of 9.0% following the 10.2% decline in January. On an annual basis, industrial output dropped 38.4% compared to forecasts of a 38.1% decline after the 31.0% retreat in the previous month.

Japan will also numbers for February vehicle production later in the day.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar was trading in the lower 98 yen-range on Monday. In early morning trades, the dollar was quoted in a range of 98.22-98.26 yen, up 0.34 yen from Friday's close of 97.88-97.91 yen in Tokyo.

Condominium developer Azel Corp. said Monday that it has decided to file for bankruptcy protection, with liabilities totaling 44.2 billion yen. The company has been severely hit by delays in payments of proceeds from sales of its fixed assets as well as the increasing reluctance to lend among financial institutions. Other real estate stocks were trading lower following the news. Mitsui Fudosan is sliding 3.2% and Mitsubishi Estate Co. is losing 1.9%.

Banking stocks are trading mostly lower. Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's biggest bank, is easing 0.76%, Mizuho Financial is down 4.17% and Sumitomo Mitsui is losing 1.04%. Resona Holdings is adding 0.07%. Brokerage Nomura Holdings is declining 1.27%.

Exporters are trading lower despite a weaker yen. Canon is losing 1.99% and Sony is down 2.25%, while Sharp is adding 0.23%. Among automakers, Toyota is gaining 1.23% and Honda is adding 0.41%.

Japanese electronics maker Fujitsu Ltd said on Friday it would buy 11 billion yen worth of shares in affiliate FDK to lift its stake in the loss-making electronics parts maker. However, the company's shares are down 0.52%.

Hitachi is losing 0.68%. The company will close a Czech plasma television manufacturing plant due to falling prices and demand in the economic slowdown.

Sanyo Electric Co. intends to book 45 billion yen in restructuring charges for its chipmaking operations in the year ending March 31, 2009, in a move that will make the company more financially viable before it becomes a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp. in fiscal 2009. The company's stock is up 0.68%.

Toshiba Corp is easing 0.35%. The company reportedly plans to take a 100% stake in its struggling liquid crystal display joint venture with Panasonic Corp.

NEC Corp will reportedly halt production and sales of personal computers in the Asia-Pacific region around July, in a move that will see it pull out completely from the loss-making PC business overseas. Shares of the company are declining 1.06%.

Oil-related stocks are trading mixed. Inpex is adding 0.70%, while Nippon Oil is losing 2.24% and Showa Shell is easing 0.61%. Meanwhile, trading house Mitsubishi Corp. is adding 0.29%, while Sumitomo Corp. is losing 1.09% and Itochu is unchanged.

Shipping company Nippon Yusen KK is down 2.26% despite a report that the company plans to build and expand port terminals in India and China to handle the loading, unloading and storage of automobiles, with an eye toward eventually developing them into major exporting bases.

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