Japanese Market Declines

The Japanese stock market is declining on Thursday after three straight days of gains and despite the positive cues overnight from Wall Street. Worries about the rising number of coronavirus infections in the country weighed on stocks. On Wednesday, the number of daily coronavirus infections topped 400 for the first time in Japan.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 99.13 points or 0.51 percent to 19,254.11 after touching a high of 19,406.96 in early trades. Japanese shares rose for a third straight session on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank is rising more than 2 percent, while Fast Retailing is down 0.2 percent.

The major exporters are mostly lower despite a weaker yen. Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent, Canon is lower by almost 1 percent and Panasonic is edging down 0.1 percent, while Sony is adding 0.4 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is down 0.4 percent, while Tokyo Electron is adding 0.5 percent. Among automakers, Honda and Toyota are declining more than 1 percent each.

Mitsubishi Motors said it will temporarily close three factories in Japan and lay off about 6,500 workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company's shares are adding 0.3 percent.

In the oil sector, Japan Petroleum is higher by more than 2 percent and Inpex is advancing almost 2 percent after crude oil prices gained more than 6 percent overnight.

Nintendo has suspended domestic shipments on its popular Nintendo Switch video game consoles following production delays arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The company's shares are down 0.5 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Casio Computer is higher by almost 5 percent, while Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Mitsui E&S Holdings, Fujikura and Nippon Sheet Glass are rising more than 4 percent each.

On the flip side, NTT Docomo and Denka Co. are losing more than 4 percent each, while Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, Fujifilm Holdings and Tobu Railway are lower by almost 4 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will see March results for its consumer confidence index today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 108 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks rallied on Wednesday amid optimism that some of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic are flattening the infection curve. Data from Johns Hopkins University showed the number of new cases in the U.S. has decreased in recent days after reaching a peak last Friday. Further buying interest was generated in reaction to news Senator Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Dow soared 779.71 points or 3.4 percent to 23,433.57, the Nasdaq surged up 203.64 points or 2.6 percent to 8,090.90 and the S&P 500 spiked 90.57 points or 3.4 percent to 2,749.98.

The major European markets closed mixed on Wednesday. While the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.5 percent.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Wednesday, rebounding from losses in previous session, ahead of the crucial meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the group's allies on Thursday. WTI crude for May delivery jumped $1.46 or about 6.2 percent to $25.09 a barrel. 

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