RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in negative territory on Friday, dragged down by exporters on a stronger yen and weak cues from the U.S market. Positive comments by Bank of Japan regarding its assessment of the domestic economy helped the market limit the losses.

The Nikkei Index opened lower at 9,156 compared to its previous close at 9,264 on weaker cues from Wall Street. However, policy announcement and positive outlook issued by the Bank of Japan lifted the indices almost into positive by mid-day. However, strengthening local currency in reaction to comments by Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano that the government will not intervene in the currency market, weighed on the market, as the index ended at 9,226, down 38.34 points, or 0.41%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues lost 0.63% or 5.56 points, to close at 876.

On the economic front, a revised report from the Japanese Cabinet Office showed that the leading index stood at 76.3 in March, revised down from the initial estimate of 76.6. But the reading stood above February's 74.4.

The Bank of Japan, in a statement, said that it has unanimously decided to maintain the uncollateralized overnight call rate at 0.1%. The central bank also expanded the range of eligible collateral to ensure financial market stability by further facilitating money market operations. It has decided to accept bonds issued by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France as eligible collateral.

Further, the BoJ in its assessment of the economy said that economic conditions have been deteriorating, but exports and production are beginning to level out. Looking forward, exports and production are expected to start recovering despite the continuing weakness in domestic private demand, the bank opined.

Exporters declined after the local currency strengthened against the dollar. The local currency rose to 93.87 yen from previous its close in Tokyo at 94.56 yen per US dollar. Canon declined 1.86%, Sony Corp lost 2.00%, Toshiba Corp slipped 1.17% and Toyota Motor shed 2.19%.

Tire manufacturer Bridgestone Corp., declined lost 2.49% following reports that US automaker General Motors might file for bankruptcy during next week.

Japan Tobacco, the third-largest cigarette maker in the world, announced plans to increase the final dividend payable to shareholders. Following the news, the stock ended higher by 1.65%

Among banking stocks, Mizuho Financial shed 0.88%, Resona Holdings lost 1.32% and Sumitomo Mitsui declined 2.34%. Mitsubishi UFJ remained unchanged from previous close.

Oil stocks ended mixed. Inpex edged down 0.14% and Showa Shell slipped 0.11%, but Nippon Oil bucked the trend and ended higher by 1.07%.

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