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Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2013 4am

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Japanese Market Declines On Profit-taking

The Japanese stock market is trading lower on Thursday on profit-taking, following the gains made in the previous trading sessions.

Investors also preferred to remain on the sidelines ahead of the European Central Bank's board meeting as well as the release of U.S. GDP data for the third quarter later in the day.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index is down 9.20 points or 0.06 percent to 14,328.11, off the day's low of 14,300.17.

Shares of Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) are trading lower by 0.79 percent. On Wednesday, the automaker reported a 70 percent surge in second-quarter profit to 438.43 billion yen from 257.92 billion yen in the prior year, while net revenues grew 16 percent to 6.28 trillion yen.

Toyota also lifted its outlook for fiscal 2014 net income to 1.67 trillion yen, up from the prior outlook of 1.48 trillion yen.

Among other major automakers, Honda Motor Co. (HMC) is trading lower by 0.89 percent, Suzuki Motor is declining 0.16 percent and Mazda Motor is losing 0.92 percent.

Pioneer Corp. is trading lower by 3.4 percent, GS Yuasa is declining 1.7 percent and Nisshin Steel Holding is losing 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Ricoh is advancing 1.59 percent, Sky Perfect JSAT Holdings is up 1.26 percent and Fujkura is adding 0.90 percent. Japan Steel Works and Showa Shell Sekiyu are trading higher by 0.19 percent each.

Bridgestone, Nikon and Yamaha are due to announce their quarterly earnings results later in the day. Shares of Bridgestone are gaining 1.68 percent and Nikon is advancing 2.79 percent, while Yamaha is trading lower by 0.07 percent.

On the economic front, Japan will see preliminary September numbers for its leading and coincident indexes, with analysts expecting scores of 109.4 and 108.3, respectively. Those numbers are up from 106.8 and 107.6 in August.

Japan will also release October data for Tokyo office vacancies. In September, vacancies were up 7.9 percent.

In the currency market, the U.S. dollar was trading in the upper 98 yen-range on Thursday. In late-morning trades, the dollar was trading in a range of 98.69-98.72 yen, up 0.12 yen from Wednesday's close of 98.57-98.59 yen in Tokyo.

On Wall Street, stocks turned mixed over the course of the session on Wednesday after showing a notable move to the upside in early trading. The mixed performance by the broader Nasdaq and S&P 500 came as traders seemed somewhat reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the release of some key economic data later this week.

While the Dow and the S&P 500 managed to remain in positive territory, the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid into the red. The Nasdaq dipped 7.92 points or 0.2 percent to 3,931.95, while the Dow jumped 128.66 points or 0.8 percent to 15,746.88 and the S&P 500 rose 7.52 points or 0.4 percent to 1,770.49.

The major European markets also ended Wednesday's trading mixed. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index ended the day up by 0.8 percent and the German DAX Index rose by 0.4 percent.

U.S. crude oil rebounded strongly to end sharply higher Wednesday, after an official weekly oil report from the Energy Information Administration showed U.S. crude oil inventories to have risen last week, albeit less than what analysts expected.

Crude Oil futures for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, surged $1.43 or 1.5 percent to close at $94.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.

by RTT Staff Writer