The Japanese stock market opened weaker on Wednesday morning, taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices continued to slide for the second successive day on Tuesday as traders expressed some anxiety about the upcoming earning season and stocks' ability to sustain the recent upward move in light of expectations of weak quarterly results.
On Tuesday, the Dow closed down 186.29 points or 2.3% at 7,790, while the Nasdaq closed down 45.10 points or 2.8% at 1,562 and the S&P 500 closed down 19.93 points or 2.4% at 816.
In Asian trading, crude oil is currently down $0.98 at $48.17 a barrel in electronic trading. Light sweet crude for May delivery closed down $1.90 at $49.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday amid demand concerns on signs of a deepening global economic downturn. Traders now look forward to the weekly inventory report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration or EIA, due out later in the day..
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index, having opened weaker at 8,747 compared to its previous close of 8,833, is currently trading at 8,658, down 174.59 points, and the broader Topix index of all First Section Issues is losing 9.99 points to 823.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is quoted in a range of 100.46-100.50 yen, down 0.08 yen from Tuesday's close.
On the economic front, preliminary data released by the Ministry of Finance revealed that current account surplus for February slumped 55.6% to 1.117 trillion yen from the same period last year. The trade balance was 202.1 billion yen, down 80.4 percent on year as imports fell a record 44.9 percent and exports plummeted 50.4 percent - also a record. Analysts had expected a trade surplus of 142 billion yen following the 844.4 billion yen deficit in January.
Almost all the stocks are trading in negative territory as traders continued to take profit following a recent rally.
Among the major exporters, Canon is losing 3.87%, Sony is falling 3.53% and Sharp is down 3.58%. Trading houses are also trading weaker. Mitsubishi Corp. is down 1.43%, Sumitomo Corp. is falling 2.27% and Itochu is losing 2.83%.
Oil stocks are trading weak on lower crude oil prices. Inpex is down 2.88%, Showa Shell is falling 1.98%, and Nippon Oil is losing 2.42%.
Automakers are also trading weaker. Honda Motor is down 1.78%, Isuzu Motors is losing 2.11%, and Toyota Motor is falling 0.53%..
Mixed trend is being witnessed among financials. Mitsubishi UFJ is losing 1.38%, Sumitomo Mitsui is decreasing 1.12% and Resona Holdings is slipping 1.57%. Brokerage Nomura Holdings is edging down 1.03%. However, bucking the trend, Mizuho Financial is gaining 3.02%.
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