Japanese Market Modestly Higher


The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Thursday in choppy trading following the mostly positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid easing worries about the U.S.-China trade war, even as a stronger yen weighed on exporters' shares.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 53.61 points or 0.23 percent to 23,726.13, after touching a low of 23,658.61 earlier. Japanese shares rallied on Wednesday to reach their highest level in nearly eight months.

The major exporters are mostly lower on a stronger yen. Sony is declining more than 1 percent, while Panasonic and Canon are down almost 1 percent each. Mitsubishi Electric is advancing more than 1 percent.

Automaker Toyota is down 0.4 percent, while Honda is adding 0.6 percent. In the banking sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is rising more than 2 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is higher by more than 1 percent.

Among oil stocks, Inpex is up 0.4 percent and Japan Petroleum is adding 0.3 percent.

Among the major gainers, Hitachi Construction Machinery is gaining almost 4 percent, Komatsu, Okuma Corp. and Yaskawa Electric are rising almost 3 percent each.

Shares of Toshiba are adding 0.3 percent after Toshiba Memory opened a $4.5 billion chip fabrication plant in Japan on Wednesday.

Nippon Paper Industries' shares are rising almost 1 percent after the company developed paper straws that are as durable as plastic ones and plans to commercialise these by the end of this year.

On the flip side, Alps Electric and Nippon Electric Glass are losing almost 3 percent each, while Screen Holdings and Tokyo Electron are down more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see August figures for convenience store sales today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 112 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday in choppy trading, with the Dow climbing to its best closing level in nearly eight months on strong gains by financial giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as well as heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. Traders largely shrugged off the escalating US-China trade war.

While the Nasdaq edged down 6.07 points or 0.1 percent to 7,950.04, the Dow advanced 158.60 points or 0.6 percent to 26,405.76 and the S&P 500 inched up 3.64 points or 0.1 percent to 2,907.95.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose to a more than two-month high on Wednesday as investors eyed disruptions to global supplies once U.S. sanctions on Iran come into force. WTI crude for October delivery advanced $1.27 or 1.8 percent to $71.12 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since July 10.