RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in the negative territory for the eighth consecutive session on Friday, in lackluster trading as the strengthening local currency raised concerns that exporters' earnings might be negatively impacted. Weaker than expected economic data related to corporate goods prices also forced traders to remain on the sidelines ahead of the weekend ahead of economic data slated for release next week that might shed more light on prospects for global recovery.
In the U.S., stocks ended a choppy session in positive territory as a sharp drop in weekly jobless claims below the 600,000 mark for the first time since January was partly offset by larger-than-expected drop in comparable stores sales of chain stores for June. Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, that showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales. Semiconductor, housing, banking and resource stocks managed to post gains while the laggards included the healthcare stocks and commercial real estate stocks.
The Dow managed to end the session up by 4.76 points or 0.1% at 8,183, the Nasdaq rose by 5.38 points or 0.3% to 1,753 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4% at 883.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened sharply higher at lower at 9,339 compared to its previous close of 9,291 following positive closing in Wall Street despite disappointing chain store sales for June. However, the euphoria was short-lived and market drifted lower amid concerns strengthening local currency might dent exporters' earnings prospects. Lack of direction and thin volumes led the index to move southward amid choppy trading. The index finally ended in negative territory with a minor loss of 3.78 points or 0.04% at 9,287. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues issues declined 1.41 points, or 0.16% percent, to 873.
Light sweet crude oil for August delivery ended lower by $0.21 at $60.20 in Asian trading, after ending the previous session with a gain of 27 cents at $60.41 a barrel, amid demand concerns.
On the economic front, a report from the Bank of Japan revealed that corporate goods prices in the country dropped by the steepest year-over-year pace on record in June, mainly due to a dip in petroleum and coal prices and the prices of scrap and waste products. The corporate goods price index dipped 6.6% year-on-year in June, after falling a revised 5.5% in the previous month, revised from a 5.4% drop. Economists expected prices to fall 6.4%. Month-on-month, the corporate goods prices were down 0.3% in June, slower than a revised 0.5% decline in the preceding month, but faster than economists' estimates of a 0.1% drop.
Shipping stocks declined following reports that service rates on container ships between North America and Asia suffered the first reduction in three years amid sluggish demand. Kawasaki Kisen fell 3.87%, Mitsui OSK Lines lost 2.87% and Nippon Yusen declined 3.31%.
Among other transportation stocks, All Nippon Airways slumped 5.79%.
Banking stocks ended mixed amid concerns about recovery. Mitsubishi UFJ slipped 0.55%, Mizuho Financial fell 1.94%, and Resona Holdings edged down 0.27%. However, Sumitomo Mitsui bucked the trend and edged up 0.28%.
Oil stocks also ended mixed.. Impex edged down 1.00%, and Nippon Oil slipped 0.21%. Showa Shell managed to end unchanged from previous close.
Among the gainers, Tokyo Electron gained 0.71% after revealing that orders nearly doubled during the last quarter. Brewer Sapporo Holdings surged 4.77% after reporting a 0.4% rise in beer shipments for the first half of 2009.
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