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Japanese Market Advances

28Feb 2017

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The Japanese market is advancing on Tuesday, with the positive cues from Wall Street and a weaker yen lifting investor sentiment. Investors shrugged off data showing that Japan's industrial output in January fell for the first time in six months.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 137.71 points or 0.72 percent to 19,245.18, off a high of 19,267.99 earlier.

Among the other major exporters, Panasonic and Sony are adding more than 1 percent each, while Canon is higher by 0.4 percent. Toshiba is losing 2 percent, while SoftBank is up 0.4 percent.

Automaker Toyota is adding almost 1 percent and Honda is rising more than 1 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is up 0.4 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is rising 0.2 percent.

In the oil space, Inpex is rising more than 2 percent and JX Holdings is gaining more than 3 percent.

India's Tata Group has agreed to pay Japan's mobile carrier NTT Docomo about $1.17 billion in connection with end of an alliance in the Indian market. NTT Docomo's shares are edging down less than 0.1 percent.

Takata Corp. pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company's conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. Shares of the airbag maker are down 0.2 percent.

Among the other major gainers, IHI Corp. is rising 5 percent, Meidensha Corp. is gaining 4 percent and Unitika is higher by more than 3 percent.

On the flip side, Nissan Chemical Industries is declining almost 2 percent, TDK Corp. is down 1.7 percent and Asahi Group is lower by almost 1 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that industrial output in Japan fell 0.8 percent on month in January, on Tuesday. That missed forecasts for an increase of 0.4 percent following the 0.7 percent gain in December.

The METI also said that retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on month in January. That beat expectations for an increase of 0.3 percent after dropping an upwardly revised 1.6 percent in December.

Japan also will see January results for housing starts and construction orders, plus February figures for small business confidence today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the upper 112 yen-range on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly higher on Monday after seeing initial weakness, amid optimism about pro-business policies under President Donald Trump, who is due to speak to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Traders will be looking for details on his promises of tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending.

The Dow crept up 15.68 points or 0.1 percent to 20,837.44, the Nasdaq rose 16.59 points or 0.3 percent to 5,861.90 and the S&P 500 edged up 2.39 points or 0.1 percent to 2,369.73.

European stocks turned in a lackluster performance on Monday. While the French CAC 40 Index closed nearly flat, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

Crude oil futures were slightly higher Monday, holding near yearly highs amid a tug of war on oil supplies between OPEC and the U.S. WTI crude oil rose $0.06 to $54.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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