RTTNews - Disappointing U.S. jobs data and a stronger yen triggered a sell-off in the Japanese stock market and sent its benchmark index Nikkei plunging down to 10,185 in early trading on Thursday.

However, with investors going in for some bargain hunting at some counters, the Nikkei has recovered some ground and is currently trading at 10,232, down 48.4 points, or 0.47%, from its previous close.

In early trading this morning, insurance, real estate and securities stocks tumbled, while select non-ferrous metal, technology and communications stocks edged higher.

Automobile and bank stocks are mostly down in negative territory. Machinery and electric machinery stocks are also trading weak. Communications stocks are trading higher. Chemicals stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend.

Earth Chemical Co. shares rose sharply, briefly climbing 13.2% to 3,000 yen to surpass the previous year-to-date high set on January 27. The maker of home-use insecticides attracted heavy buying in response to its announcement the previous day that it will procure high-quality masks from a U.S. company and sell them under its own brand. The move is likely to bolster the firm, as domestic demand for masks is surging amid growing fears over the new flu. The stock is currently up by nearly 12%.

Fast Retailing rebounded and climbed nearly 5% this morning following an announcement from the company that its Uniqlo unit saw same-store sales increase 5.6% on the year in August, a turnaround from the 4.2% decline logged in July.

Shares of Omron Corp. declined on profit taking by overseas investors. The stock has been struggling over the past few sessions amid worsened overall market sentiment.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 92-yen zone early this morning. In early trading, the dollar fetched 92.22-23 yen against Wednesday's close of 92.17-27 yen in New York and 92.65-66 yen in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 92.19 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Shanghai, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan are trading modestly higher while the Australian market is exhibiting some weakness. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly lower on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, a late session sell-off resulted in a lower close for stocks on Wednesday. The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its August meeting, indicating that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee are more confident that the economic downturn is ending and that growth is likely to resume in the second half of the year. According to a release from the Commerce Department, factory orders increased by less than economists had been expecting in July.

The Dow closed down 29.93 points, or 0.3%, at 9,281, the Nasdaq fell by 1.82 points, or 0.1%, to 1,967 and the S&P 500 declined by 3.29 points, or 0.3% to close at 995.

Major European markets posted modest losses, with the French CAC 40 index and the German DAX index falling by 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped by less than a tenth of a percent.

Crude oil prices finished unchanged on Wednesday after posting sharp declines in the last two sessions. Investors mulled over an Energy Information Administration report that revealed inventories fell last week, but not as much as expected. Light sweet crude oil for October delivery finished at US$68.05 per barrel for a second straight session.

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