(RTTNews) – The Japanese stock market is modestly lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, with the benchmark Nikkei index above the 29,300 level, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street as investors are weighing a hedge fund default in the US. Investors are also digesting mixed reports on Japan’s unemployment rate and retail sales for February.
According to media reports, the weekly number of newly confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Japan has exceeded 10,000 for the first time in six weeks.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is declining 52.09 points or 0.18 percent to 29,332.43, after touching a high of 29,478.20 earlier. Japanese shares closed higher on Monday.
Market heavyweight SoftBank Group is gaining more than 1 percent and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing is up more than 3 percent. Among automakers, Honda is down almost 1 percent and Toyota is losing almost 3 percent.
In the tech space, Advantest and Tokyo Electron are gaining more than 1 percent each. In the banking sector, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial is losing more than 2 percent and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is down almost 2 percent.
The major exporters weak, with Sony and Panasonic losing almost 1 percent each, while Mitsubishi Electric declining almost 3 percent and Canon is edging down 0.2 percent.
Among the other major gainers, Nippon Yusen, Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are gaining more than 4 percent each, while ANA Holdings and Komatsu are rising more than 3 percent each.
Conversely, Rakuten is losing almost 4 percent and Mitsui Chemicals is down almost 3 percent. Osaka Gas, Meiji Holdings, Haseko and Odakyu Electric Railway are declining more than 2 percent each.
In economic news, the unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said on Tuesday. That was unchanged from the January reading and was below forecasts for 3.0 percent. The number of unemployed was flat at 2.03 million in February, while employment rose by 30 thousand to 66.97 million. The unemployment rate was at 2.4 percent in February 2020.
Meanwhile, the total value of retail sales in Japan was down 1.5 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Tuesday – coming in at 11.628 trillion yen. That beat forecasts for a decline of 2.8 percent following the 2.4 percent drop in the previous month. This was the third straight month of decrease in retail trade, amid the prolonged COVID-19 disruptions. On a monthly basis, retail sales jumped 3.1 percent, the most since June 2020, after dropping 1.7 percent in January.
In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the higher 109 yen-range on Tuesday.
On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed after a somewhat volatile session on Monday as the mood remained a bit cautious amid news about a large hedge fund defaulting on a margin call. US hedge fund Archegos Capital reportedly failed to meet its margin call obligations, prompting banks to sell more than $20 billion worth of shares in margin call on Friday.
The major averages ended mixed. The Dow, which hit a fresh high at 33,259.00, ended the session at 33,171.37 with a gain of 98.49 points or 0.3 percent. The Nasdaq settled at 13,059.65, losing 7.08 points or 0.6 percent, while the S&P 500 edged down 3.45 points or 0.09 percent to 3,971.09.
Crude oil futures settled higher on Monday amid concerns about possible supply disruptions, but news about freeing the container ship that had blocked the Suez canal helped limit oil’s upside. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.59 or 1 percent at $61.56 a barrel.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.