RTTNews - The Japanese stock market opened on a weak note Wednesday with the overnight fall on Wall Street and a stronger yen triggering some selling across the board. Consumer finance, oil and insurance stocks were among the worst hit in early trading this morning.
With a slew of economic reports to come out during the course of this week and the outcome of the crucial U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meeting due later on in the day, investors are seen treading a cautious path in most of the markets in the Asia-Pacific region this morning.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which fell to 10,486.36 earlier this morning, is currently down by 82.7 points or 0.78% at 10,502.8. On Tuesday, the Nikkei had ended at 10,585.46, recording a gain of 61.20 points or 0.58%.
Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, steel and non-ferrous metals stocks are mostly trading lower. Machinery and electric machinery stocks are also seen struggling this morning.
Most of the key stocks in the automobile space are down in the red. Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, Hino Motors, Suzuki Motor and Nissan Motor are trading lower by 0.7%-2%.
In the banking space, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Resona Holdings, Sumitomo Trust and Banking, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings are down with notable losses.
Electrical machinery stock NEC is trading sharply lower on reports that the firm is considering raising up to 200 billion yen by offering common shares and subordinated bonds for domestic and overseas investors as early as September.
Shares of Sapporo Holdings Ltd. moved higher and gained nearly 5% in early trading today on reports that the brewery will likely form a capital alliance with major beverage maker Pokka Corp. According to the report, Sapporo Holdings will likely acquire about 20% of Pokka's outstanding shares to create a three-way tie-up with Meiji Holdings Co., which has a major stake in Pokka. However, the stock has drifted lower subsequently and is currently trading up by just about 1.5%.
The Meji Holdings stock is down by over 2%.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded just below the 96 yen line early Wednesday in Tokyo, little changed from its levels in New York overnight. In early trading, the dollar fetched 95.90-95.95 yen against Tuesday's close of 95.95-96.05 yen in New York and 96.86-87 yen in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 95.80 to the U.S. dollar.
Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia is recovering after a weak start. Taiwan and New Zealand are trading modestly higher, while Korea, Shanghai and Singapore are exhibiting weakness. Stock markets across the region had largely turned in strong performances on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower on Tuesday with traders going in for profit taking ahead of key economic data due out in the second half of the week. On the economic front, traders largely shrugged off the Labor Department's report showing a much bigger than expected increase in productivity in the second quarter.
The Dow closed down by 96.50 points or 1% at 9,241.45, the Nasdaq slipped by 22.51 points or 1.1% to 1,969.73 and the S&P 500 drifted down by 12.75 points or 1.3% to 994.35.
Major European markets closed notably lower, with the French CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index finishing down by 1.4% and 1.1% respectively, while the German DAX index closed 2.4% down.
Crude oil prices finished below US$70 per barrel on Tuesday as traders braced for what is expected to be a bearish inventory report. Lower stocks also raised concerns for energy demand. Light sweet crude for September delivery settled at US$69.45, down US$1.15 on the session.
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