Japanese Stock Market Declines

japanese stock market.jpg

The Japanese stock market is declining on Monday despite the positive cues from Wall Street on Friday and a weaker yen, as investors kept an eye on political developments in Washington where a U.S. government shutdown continued for a second day.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 48.62 points or 0.20 percent to 23,759.44, off a low of 23,697.81 earlier.

The major exporters are mostly higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is adding almost 1 percent, Sony is rising 0.6 percent and Canon is up 0.2 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 2 percent. SoftBank Group is advancing 0.5 percent.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is lower by 0.2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ is edging down 0.1 percent. Among automakers, Toyota and Honda are declining almost 1 percent each.

In the oil space, Inpex is up 0.1 percent, while Japan Petroleum Exploration is losing more than 1 percent after crude oil prices fell on Friday.

Among the market's best performers, Pioneer Corp. is rising more than 3 percent, while Maruha Nichiro and MS&AD Insurance are gaining 2 percent each.

On the flip side, Mitsui Mining & Smelting is losing more than 3 percent, while JXTG Holdings and Nippon Electric Glass are declining more than 2 percent each.

In economic news, Japan will on Monday see December figures for condominium and convenience store sales.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 110 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Friday as optimism about the outlook for the economy and corporate earnings overshadowed concerns about a potential government shutdown at midnight.

The Dow rose 53.91 points or 0.2 percent to 26,071.72, the Nasdaq advanced 40.33 points or 0.6 percent to 7,336.38 and the S&P 500 climbed 12.27 points or 0.4 percent to 2,810.30.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on Friday. While the German DAX Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.6 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil prices continued to ease from recent four-year highs on Friday. February WTI oil declined $0.58 or 0.9 percent to settle at $63.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.