The Japanese stock market opened higher on Friday morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices ended in positive territory following strong preliminary results from Wells Fargo for the quarter, which raised hopes that that the financials were not a lost cause, and some better-than-expected economic data.
On Thursday, the Dow closed up 246.27 points or 3.14% at 8,083, the Nasdaq closed up 61.88 points or 3.89% at 1,653 and the S&P 500 closed up 31.40 points or 3.81% at 857.
The New York Mercantile Exchange is closed on the eve of Good Friday. Light sweet crude for May delivery rose about 6% or $2.86 to $52.34 a barrel on Thursday, following better-than-expected results from retailers suggesting a possible rise in consumer spending.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index, having opened higher at 9,041 compared to its previous close of 8,916, is currently trading at 8,963, up 47.45 points or 0.53%, and the broader Topix index of all First Section Issues is gaining 4.33 points to 846. Automakers, oil stocks and exporters are advancing while financials are weaker, limiting the gains.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is quoted in a range of 100.38-100.40 yen, up 0.24 yen from Thursday's close.
On the economic front, the Bank of Japan reported that M2, which measures the supply of money, increased 2.2% year-on-year during March to a daily average balance of 746.3 trillion yen. M2 rose 0.1% from previous month, the bank noted. The central bank further stated that M3, broader measure of money supply, increased 1.3% year over year during March to 1,044.6 trillion yen, and 0.1% higher from previous month.
Automakers are trading higher. Honda Motor is rising 2.51%, Isuzu Motors is surging 10.87%, and Toyota Motor is advancing 1.53%.
Among the major exporters, Canon is gaining 2.59%, Sony is advancing 3.63% and Sharp is rising 2.11%. Trading houses are also advancing. Mitsubishi Corp. is moving up 3.52%, Sumitomo Corp. is gaining 2.29% and Itochu is adding 2.83%.
Oil stocks are trading in positive territory. Inpex is adding 1.70%, Showa Shell is gaining 1.34%, and Nippon Oil is advancing 4.97%.
Financials are trading weaker, on profit taking. Mitsubishi UFJ is down 2.49%, Mizuho Financial is losing 8.88%, Sumitomo Mitsui is falling 13.88% and Resona Holdings is moving down 3.39%. Brokerage Nomura Holdings, however, is advancing 1.95%.
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