June 19, 2016 - 6:30 PM EDT
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Japanese Market Surges

TOKYO (dpa-AFX) - The Japanese stock market is notably higher Monday on a weaker yen and as worries about the UK's potential exit from the European Union eased.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is gaining 341.11 points or 2.19 percent to 15,940.77, off a high of 16,035.44 earlier.

The major exporters are higher on a weaker yen. Panasonic is advancing almost 3 percent, Sharp is rising more than 4 percent, Canon is adding more than 1 percent and Sony is gaining more than 3 percent. Market heavyweight Fast Retailing is up almost 4 percent.

Automaker Toyota is rising more than 2 percent and Honda is adding 2 percent. In the banking space, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial is gaining almost 3 percent.

In the oil sector, Inpex is higher by more than 3 percent and JX Holdings is adding more than 1 percent following the surge in crude oil prices.

Among the other major gainers, Tokuyama Corp is gaining almost 9 percent, Screen Holdings is rising almost 8 percent and Fukuoka Financial is up more than 6 percent. Meanwhile, Hitachi Zosen is losing almost 4 percent and Mitsubishi Motors is down almost 2 percent.

On the economic front, the Ministry of Finance said that Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 40.7 billion yen in May. That missed forecasts for a surplus of 70.0 billion yen, following the 823.5 billion yen surplus in April.

Exports were down 11.3 percent on year, missing forecasts for a fall of 10.0 percent following the 10.1 percent decline in the previous month. Imports skidded an annual 13.8 percent - matching forecasts after plummeting 23.3 percent a month earlier.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar is trading in the upper 104 yen-range on Monday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed lower in subdued trading activity on Friday amid ongoing concerns about the referendum on whether Britain will remain in the European Union. The Dow slipped 57.94 points or 0.3 percent to 17,675.16, the Nasdaq fell 44.58 points or 0.9 percent to 4,800.34, and the S&P 500 slid 6.77 points or 0.3 percent to 2,071.22.

The major European markets moved to the upside on Friday. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 1 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.9 percent.

Crude oil prices rose on Friday for the first time in the week as the U.S. dollar weakened and as worries about Brexit eased slightly. WTI for July delivery rose $1.77 or 3.8 percent to close at $47.98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Source: Equities.com News (June 19, 2016 - 6:30 PM EDT)

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