Japanese Market Slightly Higher

The Japanese stock market is slightly higher in choppy trading on Thursday, recouping the slight losses in the previous session, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 above the 27,700 level, following the broadly positive cues overnight from Wall Street, even as the unprecedented spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to stifle economic activity in most of the cities in the country.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 20.65 points or 0.07 percent to 27,745.45, after touching a high of 27,828.28 and hitting a low of 27,704.59 earlier. Japanese shares ended slightly lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.2 percent, while Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is edging up 0.3 percent. Among automakers, Toyota is flat and Honda is losing almost 1 percent.

In the tech space, Advantest is gaining almost 2 percent, while Tokyo Electron and Screen Holdings are adding more than 2 percent each.

In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial are edging up 0.4 percent each, while Mizuho Financial is flat.

The major exporters are lower. Sony is losing more than 2 percent and Panasonic is down almost 1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric and Canon are edging down 0.2 percent each.

Among the other major gainers, Sumco is gaining almost 4 percent, while Tokyu, Marui Group, Kikkoman and ANA Holdings are adding more than 2 percent each.

Conversely, Oji Holdings and Seven & I Holdings are losing more than 3 percent each, while Shionogi & Co. and Seiko Epson are down almost 3 percent.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday, extending recent uptrend amid continued optimism about growth and on hopes the Federal Reserve might not begin tapering its bond-buying program anytime soon. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq climbed to fresh record highs and the Dow closed up as well.

The Dow ended the session with a gain of 39.24 points or 0.11 percent at 35,405.40. The S&P 500, which advanced to 4,501.71, closed up by 9.96 points or 0.22 percent at 4,496.19, while the tech-laden Nasdaq settled with a gain of 22.06 points or 0.15 percent at 15,041.86, off a fresh intraday high of 15,059.43.

The major European markets also closed slightly higher on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.34 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.18 percent, while Germany’s DAX ended 0.28 percent down.

Crude oil prices settled higher on Wednesday, extending gains to a third straight day, after data showed a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week, and fuel demand rose to the highest level since March 2020. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October ended up by $0.82 or about 1.2% at $68.36 a barrel.

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