RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in negative territory on Thursday as traders preferred to lock in gains ahead of key job report in the U.S.

In the U.S., stocks managed to end the first day of second half in positive territory amid mixed economic data in yet another day characterized by lower volumes.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management said its index of activity in the manufacturing rose to 44.8 in June from 42.8 in May, which came roughly in line with the expectations of economists, who forecast a reading of 44.9. In a separate report, housing industry group NAR said its pending home sales index rose 0.1% to 90.7 in May from an upwardly revised reading of 90.6 in April.

The U.S. Commerce Department revealed that construction spending fell 0.9% in May following a revised 0.6% increase in the previous month. ADP said that non-farm private employment fell by 473,000 jobs in June following a revised decrease of 485,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a decrease of 394,000 jobs compared to the loss of 532,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Dow closed up by 57.06 points or 0.7% at 8,504, the Nasdaq rose by 10.68 points or 0.6% to 1,846 and the S&P 500 advanced by 4.01 points or 0.4% to 923.

The Nikkei 225 Average opened higher at 9,994 compared to its previous close of 9,940, following positive closing on Wall Street. However, lack of trading cues and caution ahead of key economic report in the U.S led the stocks lower as traders preferred to lock in gains and move to sidelines. The index ended at 9,876, representing a loss of 63.78 points, or 0.64%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues declined 4.28 points, or 0.46% to 924.

Light sweet crude for August delivery ended at $69.12, down 19 cents in the Asian session after ending Wednesday's volatile session in New York at $69.31, representing a loss of $0.58 a barrel amid concerns about the recovery.

On the economic front, the Bank of Japan, revealed that the monetary base in the country expanded by 6.4% year-on-year in June, following a 7.9% gain in May and an 8.2% rise in April.

Banking stocks led the decline on concerns that merger of banks might not result in the emergence of a strong lender in the market. Shinsei Bank lost 5.10%, Chiba Bank fell 2.55%, Mizuho Financial shed 0.43%, Resona Holdings declined 1.17% and Sumitomo Mitsui dropped 2.23%.

Metal stocks advanced on higher metal prices in the international market. Sumitomo Metal Mining gained 3.49% and Pacific Metals advanced 3.69%. Merrill Lynch upgraded the outlook for both the companies on expectations of higher nickel prices.

Tire manufacturer Bridgestone gained 3.69% after Merrill Lynch initiated coverage in the stock and assigned a buy rating.

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