RTTNews - The Japanese stock market ended in negative territory on Monday, as investors preferred to lock in profits on concerns that recent market gains are overdone, especially after the Nikkei 225 Average climbed above the 10,000 mark. However, underlying optimism about recovery limited the downside as the market trended in a narrow range.
In the U.S., stocks finished Friday's session on a mixed note after traders were presented with mixed economic data. A report released by the Reuters / University of Michigan revealed that consumer sentiment continued to improve in the month of June. The preliminary reading of the consumer sentiment index for June came in at 69.0 compared to a reading of 68.7 in May. Economists had been expecting a somewhat more notable increase to a reading of 69.5.
Separately, a report from the Labor Department showed that import prices climbed by 1.3% in May, compared to a 1.1% increase in April. Export prices also rose, climbing by 0.6% in May following an increase of 0.4% in the previous month. Compared to the same month a year ago, import prices fell 17.6%, while export prices slipped by 6.5%.
While the Nasdaq closed down 3.57 points or 0.2% at 1,859, the Dow closed up 28.34 points or 0.3% at 8,799 and the S&P 500 closed up 1.32 points or 0.1% at 946.
The Nikkei 225 Average opened slightly lower at 10,127 compared to its previous close of 10,136, and continued to tread below the unchanged line in negative territory as investors preferred to lock in profits following the recent rally that helped the index surge past the psychological 10,000-mark. The index finally closed at 10,040, representing a loss of 96.15 points, or 0.95%. The broader Topix Index of all first section issues also slipped to 947, down 3.72 points, or 0.39%.
Crude oil prices ended lower, with a loss of $1.06 at $70.98 a barrel in Asian trading. Light sweet crude oil finished at $72.04, down 64 cents on Friday in New York, recovering partly from the session's low of $70.80 a barrel after OPEC lowered its demand forecast.
Financial stocks ended weaker on valuation concerns and the murky outlook for the global economy. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial slumped more than 6.5% following reports in the press that the company might sell more stock than earlier planned. Among other financials, Mitsubishi UFJ Corp. fell 3.22%, Mizuho Financial lost 3.70%, and Resona Holdings declined 2.17%.
Commodity stocks declined on weaker prices. Japan Petroleum Exploration lost 2%, Nippon Oil Corp. edged down 0.33%, and Showa Shell slipped 0.41%. Nippon Mining & Metals, the leading producer of copper in the country, lost 2.60%.
Realty stocks advanced after Daiwa Securities raised its outlook for the real estate industry in the country from underweight to neutral. Sumitomo Realty surged 6.79% and Tokyu Land Corp advanced 5.71%.
Retail stocks advanced after Merrill Lynch revised its outlook for the second largest retailer in the country, Aeon Ltd, on improving investor sentiment. Aeon gained 1.31% and Seven & I Holding added 0.84%.
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