January 27, 2016 - 11:22 AM EST
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Japanese Market Reverses Initial Losses

(dpa-AFX) - The Japanese stock market reversed initial losses to climb into positive territory on Thursday. The market opened lower following the negative lead from Wall Street, but expectations that the Bank of Japan will continue to expand stimulus on Friday boosted investor sentiment.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 46.34 points or 0.27 percent to 17,210.26, after touching a low of 16,942.13 in early trades.

Exporters are mostly lower. Sony and Toshiba are losing 3 percent each, Panasonic is down 0.8 percent and Casio Computer is declining almost 4 percent. Meanwhile, Canon is higher by more than 1 percent and Sharp is rising more than 3 percent.

Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is lower by 0.4 percent and SoftBank is down 0.5 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is declining 0.3 percent.

Oil stocks Inpex and JX Holdings are down more than 1 percent each despite higher crude oil prices.

Retail stocks pared early losses following disappointing retail sales data. Aeon is adding 0.5 percent, Seven & I Holdings is up 0.4 percent, while Fast Retailing is losing 0.4 percent.

In economic news, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that the total value of retail sales in

was down a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent on month in December. That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 2.5 percent decline in November.

On a yearly basis, retail sales skidded 1.1 percent - also missing forecasts for a gain of 0.2 percent following the 1.6 percent contraction in the previous month.

In the currency market, the

dollar traded in the mid 118 yen-level on Thursday, up from Wednesday's close in the lower 118 yen-range in

On Wall Street, stocks moved sharply lower on Wednesday as traders reacted negatively to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement, reflecting dissatisfaction that the Fed did not completely rule out a rate hike at its next meeting in March. A negative reaction to earnings news from Boeing and Apple also weighed on the major averages.

The Dow tumbled 222.77 points or 1.4 percent to 15,944.46, the Nasdaq plunged 99.51 points or 2.2 percent to 4,468.17 and the S&P 500 slumped 20.68 points or 1.1 percent to 1,882.95.

The major European markets all moved to the upside on Wednesday. While the

FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.3 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Crude oil prices rose Wednesday as buyers continued to find value among beaten-down energy products. WTI oil for March delivery settled at $32.30 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 85 cents, or 2.7 percent.

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Source: Equities.com News (January 27, 2016 - 11:22 AM EST)

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