The stock market in Japan ended lower on Tuesday, as investors preferred to take profits after a 4-day rally. The negative performance mirrored Wall Street's showing overnight. The Bank of Japan announced today its decision to keep the interest rates unchanged at 0.1% and further measures to ease lending. Optimism about another round of stimulus measures equivalent to 2% of the GDP, slated for announcement on Friday, helped trim some of the losses, as investors picked up construction stocks that could benefit from the stimulus package. On the other hand, commodity-related stocks declined on lower prices.
The Dow closed Monday's session down 41.74 points or 0.5% at 7,976, the Nasdaq closed down 15.16 points or 0.9% at 1,607 and the S&P 500 closed down 7.02 points or 0.8% at 835.
In Asian trading, crude oil advanced $0.50 to $51.55 a barrel in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed down $1.46 at $51.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday over demand concerns. Traders now look forward to Wednesday's Department of Energy inventory report.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index, having opened weaker at 8,834 compared to its previous close of 8,858, ended down 25.28 points, or 0.28%, at 8,832, while the broader Topix index of all First Section Issues nudged up 1.63 points to close at 833.
The Bank of Japan has decided to leave the overnight lending rate at 0.1%. The bank, in an effort to ease credit, has decided to accept loans on deeds to municipal government as eligible collateral security from lenders.
Among automakers, Honda Motor advanced 2.19% and Isuzu Motors gained 2.16%. Toyota Motor remained unchanged.
Financial stocks ended mixed on profit taking. Mitsubishi UFJ dropped 1.17%, Mizuho Financial fell 2.45%, and Sumitomo Mitsui slipped 1.11%. However, Resona Holdings edged up 0.45%.
Exporters were also mixed. While Canon lost 64% and Sharp fell 0.80%, Sony remained unchanged from previous close. However, Trading houses moved to the upside. Mitsubishi Corp. advanced 0.48%, Sumitomo Corp. moved up 0.54% and Itochu gained 1.53%.
Oil stocks showed weakness on lower crude oil prices. Inpex fell 2.41%, Showa Shell lost 2.57%, and Nippon Oil decreased 4.07%.
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