(RTTNews) – The Japanese stock market is declining on Thursday and the safe-haven yen strengthened after U.S. stocks closed lower in choppy trade overnight as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill.
Investor sentiment was dampened after the International Monetary Fund or IMF lowered its 2020 growth forecast for Asia-Pacific. In addition, Brazil’s health authority Anvisa said that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University has died, but recommended that the trial should continue.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 147.93 points or 0.63 percent to 23,491.53, after touching a low of 23,459.77 earlier. Japanese stocks closed modestly higher on Wednesday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is down 0.2 percent, while Fast Retailing is adding almost 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the major exporters are lower on a stronger yen. Canon and Mitsubishi Electric are declining more than 1 percent each, Sony is lower by almost 1 percent and Panasonic is down 0.3 percent.
In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is lower by almost 1 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down 0.6 percent. Among automakers, Honda is losing 2 percent and Toyota is declining almost 1 percent.
In the tech space, Tokyo Electron is adding 0.5 percent, while Advantest is down 0.4 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Japan Steel Works and Hino Motors are higher by almost 4 percent each, while Nippon Light Metal Holdings is rising almost 3 percent.
Conversely, ANA Holdings is losing more than 4 percent after Kyodo News cited company sources as saying that the company expects to book a record net loss of about 530 billion yen, or $5 billion, for the business year through March.
Also, Central Japan Railway is lower by almost 4 percent and Chugai Pharmaceutical is declining more than 3 percent.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 104 yen-range on Thursday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed modestly lower in choppy trading on Wednesday as traders kept an eye on the latest developments in Washington, as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill. In a post on Twitter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said the Speaker and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have called for committee chairs to work to resolve differences about funding levels and language.
The Dow fell 97.97 points or 0.4 percent to 28,210.82, the Nasdaq dipped 31.80 points or 0.3 percent to 11,484.69 and the S&P 500 edged down 7.56 points or 0.2 percent to 3,435.56.
The major European markets all moved to the downside on Wednesday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled by 1.9 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index slumped by 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Crude oil prices drifted lower on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns over a drop in energy demand after data from Energy Information Administration or EIA showed smaller than expected drop in oil stockpiles and an increase in gasoline inventories. WTI crude oil for December delivery slumped $1.67 or about 4 percent to $40.03 a barrel.
A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine