July 7, 2016 - 6:40 PM EDT
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Japanese Market Modestly Higher

TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - The Japanese stock market is modestly higher on Friday, following the mixed cues overnight from Wall Street and on caution ahead of the release of the key U.S. jobs data later in the day.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is adding 57.88 points or 0.38 percent to 15,334.12, off a high of 15,399.70 earlier.

Among the major exporters, Toshiba is edging up 0.07 percent, Panasonic is rising 2 percent and Sony is adding 0.5 percent, while Canon is down 0.4 percent and Sharp is unchanged.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is losing 0.3 percent, while SoftBank Group is adding 0.2 percent.

Automaker Toyota is adding almost 1 percent and Honda is gaining 2 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 0.5 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is declining 1 percent and JX Holdings is edging up 0.08 percent after crude oil prices fell overnight.

Among the other major gainers, Tokai Carbon is gaining almost 5 percent, Tokyo Electron is rising almost 4 percent and Nitto Denko is higher by 3.6 percent. On the flip side, Asahi Glass is losing more than 4 percent and Unitika is down almost 2 percent.

In economic news, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan had a current account surplus of 1.809 trillion yen in May. That exceeded expectations for a surplus of 1.751 trillion yen, although it was down from 1.878 trillion yen in April.

The trade balance reflected a surplus of 39.9 billion yen - missing forecasts for 56.0 billion yen and down from 697.1 billion yen in the previous month.

Japan is also slated to release labor cash earnings as well as June numbers for bank lending and the eco watchers survey.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 100 yen-range on Friday.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction and closed mixed in choppy trading as traders looked ahead to the release of the Labor Department's closely-watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

While the Nasdaq rose 17.65 points or 0.4 percent to 4,876.81, the Dow dipped 22.74 points or 0.1 percent to 17,895.88 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.83 points or 0.1 percent to 2,097.90.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Thursday. While the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 1.1 percent.

Crude oil futures plunged Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude supplies declined by 2.2 million barrels for the week ended July 1.

August WTI crude fell $2.29, or 4.8 percent, to settle at $45.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest in two months.

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Source: Equities.com News (July 7, 2016 - 6:40 PM EDT)

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