RTTNews - After a positive start on the back of a good show by stocks on Wall Street amid hopes of an economic revival, the Japanese market drifted lower on Thursday with investors choosing to trim positions at higher levels.

The benchmark index Nikkei, which rose to 9,994 earlier this morning, is currently down in the red at 9,925, down by around 15 points or 0.14% from its previous close. On Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 had ended at 9,340, recording a loss of 18.51 points, or 0.19%.

Steel stock JFE Holdings is trading firm with a near 2% gain. Non-ferrous metals Sumitomo Metal Mining, Toyo Seikan Kaisha, Furukawa Electric, Fujikura and Toho Zinc are trading sharply higher. Machinery and electric machinery stocks are mostly trading in positive territory.

Bank, pharmaceuticals and real estate stocks are exhibiting a mixed trend. Insurance stocks are surging higher. Not much buying is seen in the communications space.

A positive sales report from U.S. triggered some buying in major automotive shares including Toyota Motor and Honda Motor in early trades this morning. However, most of the stocks in the automobile space are trading off their highs at present due to lack of support.

Shares of midsize printing company Kosaido edged higher following an announcement from the company that it is likely to break even on an operating basis for the April to June quarter. The company had logged a 787 million yen profit last year. The stock is currently trading nearly 3% higher than its previous close.

Bank shares Shinsei Bank and Aozora Bank are trending lower today following the two entities officially announcing plans to merge in October 2010. With investors rushing in to book profits to capitalize recent surge, the two stocks declined sharply this morning and are currently trading lower by 3% and 4% respectively.

Meanwhile shares of retail major K's Holdings Corp. have risen sharply, gaining over 3%, on the back of reports that the company's net profit rose 40% on the year to 1.3 billion yen in the April-June quarter. The company said in May it will likely book a group net profit of 11.6 billion yen for the year ending March.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded at the mid-96 yen level in early trading today. Currently, the yen is trading at 96.50 to the U.S. dollar.

Other markets in the Asia-Pacific region are currently trading in positive territory. The key indices of Australia, Shanghai, New Zealand and Taiwan are up by 0.3% - 1% while those of Singapore and Korea are up modestly over their previous closing levels.

Wall Street ended with modest gains Wednesday amid low volumes. While the data on manufacturing activity and pending home sales fell in line with expectations and resulted in an early surge, weak employment and construction spending data hurt sentiment to an extent and wiped off some early gains.

The Dow closed up by 57.06 points at 8,504.06, the Nasdaq rose by 10.68 points to 1,845.72, and the S&P 500 advanced by 4.01 points to 923.33.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had ended Wednesday's session on a mixed note. Trading in Hong Kong was closed for the day.

Major European markets closed notably higher, with the German DAX Index and French CAC 40 Index rising by 2% and 2.4%, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also moved higher, advancing by 2.2%.

Oil prices fell after bouncing above US$71 following a mixed report on U.S petroleum inventories. Crude oil reserves fell 3.7 million barrels in the week ending June 26, recording the fourth weekly drop in a row. On Wednesday, light sweet crude for August delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended at US$69.31 a barrel, down US$0.58.

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