RTTNews - A stronger yen and a mixed bag of U.S. economic data prompted investors to go in for some selling in the Japanese market on Friday. Wall Street ended stronger for the third successive day on Thursday, but the mood in Tokyo is quite cautious this morning with the unexpected rise in U.S. jobless claims weighing on the market to a notable extent.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index is currently trading with a loss of 134 points or 1.29% at 10,249.4.

In the automobile sector, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors are trading in the red with notable losses.

Bank stocks are trading mixed and steel stocks are mostly trading higher. Non-ferrous metals and machinery stocks are mostly seen struggling for support, while chemicals and pharmaceuticals are also trading lower.

Japan Airlines Corp. and Nippon Yusen KK are reportedly planning to integrate their air cargo businesses next April. They hope to turn around these unprofitable operations by cutting costs, eliminating overlapping routes and disposing of unnecessary planes.

The most likely plan would be for JAL to spin off its air cargo business and merge it with Nippon Cargo Airlines Co., a Nippon Yusen subsidiary. JAL expects this restructuring measure will lead to savings of about 20 billion yen. The JAL stock opened on a firm note this morning but has pared early gains subsequently and is currently trading flat. Nippon Yusen is trading modestly higher.

Shares in Seven & i Holdings Co. drifted lower in early trading this morning, after the Japan Franchise Association said Thursday that same-store sales of convenience stores nationwide declined 7.5% year on year in July. However, the stock has rebounded into positive territory now on buying at lower levels, recording a small gain.

Kobe Steel surged higher on reports that the firm plans to produce large forged-steel parts for use in nuclear reactors. The company will reportedly spend the next three years developing the production technology for the parts, which require high rigidity and sophisticated precision processing.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar stayed in the lower 94 yen range early Friday in Tokyo, almost unchanged from its levels overnight in New York. In early trading today, the dollar fetched 94.25-94.30 yen against Thursday's close of 94.15-94.25 yen in New York and 94.30-94.31 yen in Tokyo. The yen is currently trading at 93.98 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are exhibiting weakness, while Shanghai, Korea and Taiwan are trading modestly higher. Stock markets across the region had closed mostly higher on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks moved higher on Thursday, aided by some upbeat news from the manufacturing sector that helped to offset a disappointing jobs report. Some buying interest was generated by the release of a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve saying that manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region showed some signs of stabilization.

Separately, research group the Conference Board said that its leading economic indicators index increased for the fourth consecutive month in July, signifying a likely improvement in economic conditions in the near term.

The Dow closed up by 70.89 points or 0.8% at 9,350.05, the Nasdaq moved up by 19.98 points or 1% to 1,989.22 and the S&P 500 ended up by 10.91 points or 1.1% to 1,007.37.

Major European markets closed on the upside, with the German DAX index and the French CAC 40 index rising by 1.5% and 1.6% respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose by 1.4%.

With traders doing some profit taking, crude oil saw some weakness on Thursday after showing a substantial upward move in the previous session. Disappointing employment data inspired some traders to cash in on Wednesday's gains.

After ending Wednesday's trading up nearly US$3 a barrel, crude for October delivery ended the session down US$0.92 at US$72.91 a barrel.

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