January 26, 2021

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Japanese Market Modestly Lower Ahead Of BOJ Decision

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The Japanese stock market is modestly lower on Thursday following the mostly negative cues overnight from Wall Street despite a dovish monetary policy announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Investors remained cautious ahead of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision due later in the day. The BOJ is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at -0.1 percent, although it may introduce other means of stimulus.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 64.09 points or 0.27 percent to 23,411.44, after falling to a low of 23,321.34 earlier. Japanese stocks edged lower on Wednesday.

Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is edging up 0.1 percent, while Fast Retailing is declining 0.6 percent.

The major exporters are mixed on a stronger yen. Sony is adding almost 1 percent and Canon is edging up 0.1 percent, while Mitsubishi Electric is lower by 0.7 percent and Panasonic is down 0.2 percent.

Sony said it will launch the PlayStation 5 on November 12 in seven key markets, including Japan and the U.S.

In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is higher by 0.6 percent, while Advantest is unchanged. In the financial sector, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial are rising 0.5 percent each.

Hitachi said it is pulling out of a nuclear power plant project in Wales, citing a worsening investment environment due to the impact of COVID-19. Shares of Hitachi are adding 0.3 percent.

Among automakers, Honda is losing almost 1 percent, while Toyota is adding 0.2 percent. In the oil sector, Inpex is down 0.2 percent, while Japan Petroleum is adding 0.1 percent.

Among the other major gainers, Ajinomoto Co. is rising more than 4 percent, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha is rising more than 3 percent and Mitsui OSK Lines is advancing almost 3 percent.

Conversely, Isuzu Motors is losing almost 4 percent, while East Japan Railway, West Jpan Railway and Central Japan Railway are lower by more than 3 percent each.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the lower 105 yen-range on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks pulled back sharply in the final hour of trading on Wednesday after seeing strength for much of the session. The late-day pullback came despite a dovish monetary policy announcement by the Fed, with the central bank leaving interest rates unchanged and signaling rates are likely to remain at near-zero levels for years to come. The Fed announced its widely expected decision to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at zero to 0.25 percent.

While the Dow inched up 36.78 points or 0.1 percent to 28,032.38, the Nasdaq plunged 139.85 points or 1.3 percent to 11,050.47 and the S&P 500 slid 15.71 points or 0.5 percent to 3,385.49.

The major European markets ended mixed on Wednesday amid cautious trading. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid by 0.4 percent, the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Crude oil prices extended gains on Wednesday from the previous session, after data showed an unexpected drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended September 11. A sharp drop in U.S. offshore output due to the impact of Hurricane Sally further supported oil prices. WTI crude for October delivery jumped $1.88 or about 4.9 percent to $40.16 a barrel.

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2020-09-16 22:13:56

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