April 17, 2016 - 2:21 PM EDT
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Japanese Market Down Sharply

TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - The Japanese stock market is sharply lower on Monday, with investor sentiment dampened by worries about the impact of the earthquakes in southwestern Japan and the failure of oil producing nations to reach an agreement in Doha to freeze oil production.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 469.58 points or 2.79 percent to 16,378.45, off a low of 16,254.20 in early trades.

Exporters are weak, hurt by a stronger yen. Sony is declining almost 5 percent, Canon is down 2 percent, Sharp is lower by almost 3 percent and market heavyweight Fast Retailing is losing almost 4 percent.

Toyota is declining almost 5 percent after the automaker said it will suspend domestic car production in stages following the earthquakes in southwestern Japan. Honda is down more than 4 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is lower by more than 4 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is down 5 percent and refiner JX Holdings is lower by more than 2 percent as oil prices fell.

Among the other losers, Alps Electric is losing more than 6 percent, Fanuc is down more than 3 percent and Resona Holdings is lower by almost 3 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see March figures for nationwide and Tokyo department store sales in February.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 108 yen-level on Monday, down from Friday's close in the lower 109 yen-level in Tokyo.

On Wall Street, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance on Friday before closing slightly in the red, partly due to a steep drop by the price of crude oil. Traders were also digesting the latest batch of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Federal Reserve showing a much bigger than expected drop in industrial production in March.

The Dow dipped 28.97 points or 0.2 percent to 17,897.46, the Nasdaq slipped 7.67 points or 0.2 percent to 4,938.22 and the S&P 500 edged down 2.05 points or 0.1 percent to 2,080.73.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dropped by 0.4 percent.

Crude oil futures fell sharply Friday amid diminished expectations for a crucial meeting of oil producers in Doha. Crude oil for May delivery tumbled $1.14 or 2.8 percent to $40.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Source: Equities.com News (April 17, 2016 - 2:21 PM EDT)

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