RTTNews - The stock market in Japan opened on a negative note on Friday with fears over growing U.S. debt and a stronger yen triggering some heavy selling in early trading. However, with a few frontline stocks finding support at lower levels, the market has regained some lost ground in subsequent trading.
The Japanese benchmark index Nikkei 225, which opened with a negative gap of over 100 points at 9,156.14, has recovered to 9,227.82, but is still trading lower by 36.33 points.
Construction, machinery and electric machinery stocks are trading sharply lower. Insurance, communications and real estate stocks are also down sharply this morning. Not much buying is seen in chemicals, non-ferrous metals, steel and pharmaceuticals stocks as well.
Automobile and bank stocks are seen struggling for support. In the automobile space, Toyota Motor, Suzuki Motor, Honda Motor and Nissan Motor are down sharply in the red. Mazda Motor, Hino Motors and Isuzu Motors are also trading weak.
Among bank stocks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Resona Holdings, Bank of Yokohama, Shizuoka Bank, Chiba Bank, Sumitomo Trust and Banking Co., Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings and Mizuho Financial Group are trading sharply lower.
The dollar fell to the 93 yen range early this morning after the Japanese finance minister ruled out plans to intervene in the currency market despite the recent rise in the yen. The yen is currently trading at 94.22 to the U.S. dollar.
According to a survey data released by the Japanese Labor Ministry, average household income in Japan dipped 1.9% on the year to 5.56 million yen in 2007. With the global economic meltdown over the past one year battering the job market, it is highly likely that average income has fallen even further now.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is trading sharply lower with the S&P/ASX 200 and All Ordinaries indices losing around 1.25% each. The NZX 50 of the New Zealand market is trading down 0.5%. The Korean index KOSPI is down with a modest loss, while the Straits Times of the Singapore stock market is trading flat. The Taiwan Weighted average is down by 0.6%.
Disappointing economic data rendered the mood bearish on Wall Street and sent stock prices down to a negative close on Thursday. The data released by the U.S. Labor Department showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims reach rose yet again, reaching a new historic high.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business activity index for the first half of May showed improvement, but rose by less than expected, further mitigating risk appetite.
Finishing slightly off its lows, the Dow lost 129.91 points as it settled at 8,292.13. The Nasdaq finished down by 32.59 points at 1,695.25, and the S&P 500 ended down by 15.14 points at 888.33.
It was a negative close for all the stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index slipped 0.8 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent.
Major European markets also closed firmly on the downside. The French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both fell considerably on the day, dropping 2.6 and 2.7 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also finished lower, closing down 2.7 percent.
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