RTTNews - The stock market in Japan continued its southward march for the ninth consecutive trading session on Monday as traders turned jittery about the impact the political uncertainty will have on the economy. Prime Minister Taro Aso called for a snap general election for August 30 after the ruling coalition suffered a major loss in Sunday's Tokyo metropolitan assembly. The strengthening of the local currency against the greenback and a likely delay in a global recovery also impacted market sentiment.
In the U.S., stocks ended mixed in a choppy session in yet another day of low volumes amid weak economic data that further dented the already weak outlook. A report released by Reuters and the University of Michigan showed that consumer sentiment index for July came in at 64.6 compared with the final reading of 70.8 for June. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to a reading of about 70.0. A report released by the Commerce Department showing a narrower than expected trade deficit for May and a separate report from the Labor Department that revealed a jump in import prices in June had little or no impact on the market.
Disappointing preliminary numbers from Chevron and a decline in oil prices below the $60 a barrel mark amid the strengthening of the dollar against the Euro and the Pound also impacted market sentiment. Housing and healthcare stocks showed weakness, while moderate gains were seen among airline, rail-road transportation and few technology stocks.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to finish higher by 3.48 points or 0.2% at 1,756, while the Dow fell by 36.65 points or 0.5% to 8,147 and the S&P 500 dipped by 3.55 points or 0.4% to 879.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened lower at 9,242 compared to its previous close of 9,287 amid concerns about a global recovery following weak closing on Wall Street on Friday. After a brief move above the unchanged line in early trading, the market drifted into negative territory on political concerns The index ended in negative territory, finishing down 236.95 points, or 2.55% at 9,050. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues issues fell 20.08 points, or 2.30 percent, to 852.
Light sweet crude oil for August delivery continued its southward march and ended at at $59.02, down $0.87 a barrel in Asian trading session, after ending the New York session with a loss 38 cents at $59.89 a barrel on Friday.
Metal stocks declined on weaker commodity prices in the international market. Mitsui Mining plunged 6.8% and Sumitomo Metal Mining Co lost 4.6%. Weakness in consumer demand in the U.S., the major exporter of Japanese goods, led electronic products and automakers lower.
Sony Corp. fell 2.9%, Casio Computer slumped 4.47% , Fujikura lost 5.48% and Mazda Motor declined 6.02%.
Komatsu Ltd., a machinery maker that derives almost a quarter of its revenue from the Americas, fell 3.07% and Konica Minolta lost 4.19%..
Shipping stocks continued to slide on demand concerns. Kawasaki Kisen fell 4.31%, Mitsui OSK Lines lost 1.29% and Nippon Yusen slipped 1.05%.
Oil stocks also ended in negative territory. Impex lost 2.86% and Nippon Oil lost 1.03% and Showa Shell declined 1.45%
Brewery stocks ended in positive territory. Sapporo Holdings surged up 6.14% and Kirin Holdings soared 7.82% following reports of merger talks with privately held Suntory. However, both Suntory and Kirin Holdings neither denier or accepted that they are engaged in merger talks.
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