Japanese Market Rises Ahead Of BOJ Decision

(RTTNews.com) - The Japanese stock market has pared initial strong gains and is modestly higher on Friday following the mostly positive cues from Wall Street and on a weaker yen. Investors turned cautious ahead of the Bank of Japan's monetary policy decision due later in the day.

The central bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at -0.1 percent, although it may tinker with other forms of stimulus.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 67.24 points or 0.30 percent to 22,805.85, off a high of 22,885.84.

Among the major exporters, Canon is lower by 0.2 percent, Panasonic is down 0.3 percent and Mitsubishi Electric is losing more than 1 percent, while Sony is advancing almost 1 percent.

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

Among oil stocks, Inpex is adding almost 1 percent and Japan Petroleum Exploration is higher by more than 1 percent after crude oil prices rose overnight.

Among the market's best performers, Taiyo Yuden is gaining almost 10 percent, Daiichi Sankyo is rising more than 3 percent and TDK Corp. is higher by almost 3 percent.

On the flip side, Tokuyama Corp. and Tokyo Electron are losing almost 5 percent, Advantest is lower by almost 4 percent and Screen Holdings is down more than 3 percent.

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

On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed on Thursday, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing to a new record closing high on continued strength in media stocks, and the narrower Dow closing lower for the third straight day after a notable decline by shares of industrial conglomerate General Electric.

21st Century Fox's shares rose after Comcast announced a $65 billion bid for most of the company's media assets, igniting a potential bidding war with Disney. GE CEO John Flannery told French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire the company's commitment to create 1,000 jobs by the end of 2018 as part of its acquisition of Alstom's energy business is now out of reach.

The Nasdaq advanced 65.34 points or 0.9 percent to 7,761.04 and the S&P 500 rose 6.86 points or 0.3 percent to 2,782.49, while the Dow edged down 25.89 points or 0.1 percent at 25,175.31.

The major European markets moved significantly higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank indicated plans to wind down its bond buying program and pledged to keep interest rates on hold for at least a year.

While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.4 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures rose Thursday, settling at a 2-week high despite rumors that OPEC will ramp up production. WTI crude added $0.25 to close at $66.89 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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