RTTNews - The stock market in Japan ended in positive territory on Friday lifted by late short covering in futures, after having declined sharply in early trading on weak earnings. Profit taking was also witnessed in early trading ahead of key employment report in the U.S later in the day.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended the session at a new yearly closing high of 10,412, up 24.00 points, or 0.2%, while the broader Topix index of all first section stocks slipped into negative territory with a marginal loss of 0.75 points, or 0.1% at 957.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance revealed that the country's international reserves increased to US$1.022 trillion at the end of July, up US$3.48 billion from the previous month. The Ministry further noted that of the total international reserves, foreign currency reserves amounted to US$991.9 billion, while the reserves with the IMF totaled US$4.26 billion. Gold reserves were US$23.1 billion, while the SDRs amounted to US$2.97 billion.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $71.59 a barrel in electronic trading, down $0.38 from its previous close $71.97 a barrel in New York on Wednesday.

Retail stocks advanced on expectations of recovery. Fast Retailing advanced 0.95%, and Seven & I Holdings rose 1.11%. However, Aeon Co. bucked the trend and slipped 0.43%.

Most of the stocks declined following disappointing earnings on concerns about valuations in the price being inconsistent with their earnings and forecast.

Konica Minolta Holdings, maker of printers and office equipment, reported a 98% drop in first quarter earnings. Following the disappointing results, Nomura Holdings had cut the ratings for the stock to neutral frombuy. The stock declined slumped 10.09%. Among others in the sector, Ricoh fell 1.42% and Terumo Corp. slipped 0.84%.

Kuboto Corp., engaged in the manufacture of farm machinery, reported a 72% drop in earnings for the recent quarter. The stock fell 6.13%. Among other machinery companies, Daikin Industries lost 3.46% and Hitachi Construction Machinery slipped 0.70%.

Automakers also ended weaker on profit taking ahead of key employment report in the U.S later in the day. Toyota Motor declined 0.97%, Honda Motor edged down 0.32% and Nissan Motor lost 1.12%.

Banks also ended in the negative territory on profit taking. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial lost 1.24%, Resona Holdings fell 1.26%, Mizuho Financial edged down 0.44% and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial shed 1.16%.

In the U.S., stocks ended in negative territory with modest losses on Thursday after showing strength in early trading following lower-than-expected weekly jobless numbers from the Labor Department which signaled that the pace of job losses might be slowing down. Profit taking was witnessed as traders turned cautious and preferred to move to the side lines ahead of the key employment report on Friday.

The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3% at 9,256, the Nasdaq slipped by 19.89 points or 1% to 1,973, and the S&P 500 fell by 5.64 points or 0.6% to 997.

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