Nikkei seen range-bound, risk-appetite clipped by euro fears
TOKYO, April 20 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is set to tread in a range on Friday after a Spanish bond auction failed to extinguish fears of a rerun of the euro zone debt crisis and as U.S. jobs data disappointed. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 9,500 and 9,600 on thin volume, with investors remaining cautious ahead of an April 27 Bank of Japan meeting that will weigh up the need for further easing measures. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,560, down 40 points, or 0.4 percent from the close in Osaka of 9,600. "The Spanish bond auction didn't go as badly as it might have, and the euro is likely to strengthen against the yen today, which would benefit major exporters," said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko. Spain issued 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in 2- and 10-year bonds on Thursday, at the top end of the targeted amount and on solid demand, but yields still rose above paper issued in a January auction. The concern that the country could be unable to finance its own debt and worsen the euro zone debt crisis has recently spooked investors. U.S. stocks fell overnight following poor jobs data and disappointing earning results from several companies, including Qualcomm Inc and Stanley Black & Decker. Microsoft Corp's profit report beat forecasts and pushed the stock 2.7 percent higher in extended-hours trading. "Microsoft's results were encouraging but they're unlikely to push the Nikkei up much," said Nishi, who said the weakening yen is likely to have more impact on domestic stocks. The yen has eased over the past three days, with the dollar creeping up to 81.68 yen, nudging major exporters such as Toyota to outperform the index. Strategists said the currency would be unlikely to weaken significantly before the BOJ meeting on April 27, when the central bank is widely expected to announce further monetary easing. > Wall St falls on weak data, Qualcomm drags > Euro climbs vs U.S. dollar, yen in volatile trade > Bonds rise as data supports easy monetary policy > Gold falls for fifth day, silver demand seen higher > Crude steady, gasoline down as supply worries ease STOCKS TO WATCH --OLYMPUS CORP Disgraced Olympus will hold its extraordinary shareholders meeting at 0830 Japan time (2330 GMT), where shareholders will be updated on the accounting scandal and be asked to approve results restated in December after an external panel revealed the firm hid investment losses off its books for 13 years. --RICOH CO LTD U.S. Eastman Kodak Co has filed a U.S. patent lawsuit against Ricoh and accused the Japanese company of failing to pay past royalties, report sales of licensed digital camera products and pay interest. --SONY CORP A Sony-led consortium won European Union approval on Thursday to buy EMI's music publishing business for $2.2 billion, on the condition that it sell the worldwide publishing rights of artists including Robbie Williams and Lenny Krativz. --TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO The months-long hunt for the next chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co ended on Thursday after Kazuhiko Shimokobe, a lawyer with expertise in turning around businesses and a member of the bailout body for the firm, accepted an offer to run the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
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