RTTNews - Stocks drifted lower in the Japanese market on Friday with investors tracking the overnight fall on Wall Street and taking some profits. With the crucial U.S. employment data to be released later on in the day, the mood is a bit cautious this morning.

Automobile, non-ferrous metals and iron & steel stocks are among the prominent losers this morning. Textiles and paper stocks are trading firm.

The Nikkei, which opened weak at 10,366 has declined further to 10,285, posting a sharp loss of 103.4 points or 0.99%. The Nikkei had ended the previous session at 10,388, up 135.56 points or 1.32%.

Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, Suzuki Motor, Nissan Motor and Mazda Motor are all trading in the red this morning.

Among bank stocks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings and Sumitomo Trust and Banking are trading notably higher while Bank of Yokohama, Resona Holdings and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are trading weak.

Mitsubishi Rayon rose sharply on reports that the firm plans to start producing a high-performance chemical in Saudi Arabia. If the company carries out the plan, it will be able to make use of the 'Alpha process' technology owned by major British chemical firm Lucite International Group Ltd., which the Japanese firm purchased in May. However, after gaining around 6%, the stock has drifted down and is currently up by around 3% over its previous close.

Electrical machinery stock Pioneer Corp. is down sharply by about 4% today following an announcement from the company that it posted an 8.9 billion yen pretax loss for the April-June quarter. According to media reports, the company is considering raising money by tapping public or private funds. With no specific details provided about the plan, investors are largely unmoved by the reports.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar continued trading at the mid-95 yen level early Friday in Tokyo, almost unchanged from its levels overnight in New York, where it closed at 95.42-52 yen. The yen is currently trading at 95.43 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Singapore and Shanghai are trading weak while New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan are trading modestly higher. Stock markets across the region had turned in a mixed performance on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks surrendered early gains and posted moderate losses overnight, as traders did some profit taking ahead of key employment data on tap for Friday. Though there were some encouraging signs on the jobless claims front, sales figures from major retailers were somewhat disappointing.

The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3% at 9,256.26, the Nasdaq eased by 19.89 points or 1% to 1,973.16, and the S&P 500 drifted down by 5.64 points or 0.6% to 997.08.

Major European markets closed on the upside by moderate margins. The French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index finished up by 0.6% and 0.3% respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index ended the day up by 0.9%.

Crude oil prices finished little changed on Thursday as a stronger-than expected employment report offset a stronger dollar and on reports OPEC isn't likely to cut production next month. Light sweet crude oil settled at US$71.94 per barrel, down 3 cents on the session. Earlier, oil had dropped below the US$71 mark.

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