April 14, 2016 - 2:11 PM EDT
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Japanese Market Pares Early Losses

TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - The Japanese stock market has pared its early losses and is marginally lower on Friday. Investors took profits following three straight days of gains. News about a strong earthquake overnight in southwestern Japan also dampened investor sentiment.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is losing 59.83 points or 0.35 percent to 16,851.22, off a low of 16,720.39 in early trades.

Exporters are weak. Sony is declining almost 3 percent, Canon is down 0.5 percent, and Sharp is declining 0.7 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is losing 0.3 percent.

The Nikkei business daily reported that talks on integrating former Sony unit Vaio and the personal computer businesses of Toshiba as well as Fujitsu will likely fall through due to disagreements over issues like growth strategies and factory consolidation. Shares of Fujitsu are down more than 5 percent, while Toshiba is lower by 0.4 percent.

Automakers Toyota and Honda are down almost 1 percent each. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 1 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is down almost 1 percent and refiner JX Holdings is lower by 0.2 percent as oil prices fell overnight.

Among the other losers, Kobe Steel and JFE Holdings are down more than 2 percent each, while Kubota Corp. is losing more than 1 percent.

In economic news, Japan will see final February numbers for industrial production later today.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar traded in the lower 109 yen-level on Friday, almost unchanged from Thursday's close in Tokyo.

On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction before ending mixed on Thursday, as traders took a breather following the strong gains posted in the two previous sessions. Traders were also digesting the latest batch of U.S. economic data, including a Labor Department report showing tame consumer price inflation.

While the Nasdaq edged down 1.53 points or less than 0.1 percent to 4,945.89, the Dow ticked up 18.15 points or 0.1 percent to 17,926.43 and the S&P 500 inched up 0.36 points or less than 0.1 percent to 2,082.78.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Thursday. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index closed just above the unchanged line, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures were slightly lower Thursday as the U.S. dollar held its ground versus major rivals. WTI crude oil for May settled at $41.50 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 26 cents, or 0.6 percent.

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Source: Equities.com News (April 14, 2016 - 2:11 PM EDT)

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