RTTNews - Weak cues from Wall Street and a stronger yen sent stock prices crashing down sharply in the Japanese stock market on Thursday. With stocks wilting under severe selling pressure, the Nikkei 225 Average is currently trading 239.53 points or 2.56% down at 9101.

Weaker-than-expected U.S. April retails sales dealt a severe blow to expectations of an economic revival and sent stock prices crashing down sharply on Wall Street on Wednesday. With hopes of a quick economic recovery receding to a marked extent, stocks across various sectors are being hammered in the Japanese market this morning.

In the banking sector, Resona Holdings, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Bank of Yokohama, Mizuho Financial Group, Shizuoka Bank, Chiba Bank and Shinsei Bank are trading sharply lower. Fukoka Financial Group and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. are also exhibiting weakness.

In the insurance space, T&D Holdings, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Tokio Marine and Sompo Japan Insurance are trading with sharp losses.

Among automobile stocks, Toyota Motor Corp., Hondo Motor, Suzuki Motor, Nissan Motor, Isuzu Motor, Hino Motors and Mazda Motor are all trading weak.

Among the stocks in the steel space, JFE Holdings, Pacific Metals, Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries are down sharply.

Leading machinery, retail, communications, energy, foods and healthcare stocks are mostly trading sharply lower. Stocks from shipbuilding, construction and real estate sectors are also struggling this morning.

In the currency market, the Yen is trading at 95.60 to the U.S. dollar.

Other markets in the Asia-Pacific region are also trading weak. Australia is trading sharply lower with its benchmark indices S&P/ASX 200 and All Ordinaries trading lower by over 100 points. The NZX 50 of the New Zealand market is down 1.4% or 40 points. The Singaporean, Korean and Taiwanese indices are currently trading trading 1.5% - 1.9% down from their previous closing levels.

The stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance on Wednesday. While Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 percent, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.5 percent.

Major European markets all saw considerable weakness on the day, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closing down 2.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index fell 2.4 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.

On Wednesday, gloomy retail sales data for April triggered heavy selling in shares of retailers on Wall Street. Weak crude oil prices took a toll of energy stocks.

The report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month in April after showing back-to-back increases in the first two months of the year. According to the report, retail sales fell 0.4 percent in April following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected sales to come in unchanged compared to the 1.2 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.

In other economic news, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed a continued decrease in business inventories in the month of March. The report showed that business inventories fell 1.0 percent in March following a revised 1.4 percent decrease in February.

The major averages all closed firmly negative, with the Nasdaq ending the session at its worst level of the day. The Dow fell 184.22 points or 2.2 percent to 8,284.89, the Nasdaq closed down 51.73 points or 3 percent at 1,664.19 and the S&P 500 fell 24.43 points or 2.7 percent to 883.92.

Economic data is likely to remain in focus on Thursday. Traders are likely to keep a close eye on the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report along with its report on wholesale price inflation for the month of April.

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