Nikkei seen stuck in range ahead of BOJ, U.S. jobs data
TOKYO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei stock average is likely to tread in range on Friday, as investors wait for the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting due during trading hours, as well as key U.S. jobs data later in the day. The Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,750 and 8,900, strategists said. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,845 on Thursday, up 0.1 percent from the Osaka close. "U.S. stocks rose overnight and the yen cheapened against the euro, which should help the tone today, but the market will likely be rangebound as investors wait the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting as well as U.S. employment data," said Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. The U.S. S&P 500 extended gains to a fourth day on Thursday, putting it on the cusp of a new five-year high if Friday's jobs report shows encouraging signs for the labour market. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast 113,000 jobs were created in September compared with 96,000 jobs created in August, while the unemployment rate is seen at 8.2 percent, versus 8.1 percent in August. Before that, the BOJ is expected to keep monetary settings unchanged to spend some time reviewing the effect of its policy loosening last month. Although weakening manufacturing activity in Asia continues to cloud the outlook. On Thursday, the Nikkei advanced 0.9 percent to 8,824.59, snapping a four-day losing run, while the broader Topix index climbed 1.1 percent to 735.38. The benchmark Nikkei is up 4.4 percent so far this year, trailing a 16.2 percent rise in the S&P 500 and a 11 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index. But Japanese equities are slightly more expensive than their European peers, with a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11.4 versus STOXX Europe 600's 11.1, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. The S&P 500's 12-month forward P/E stands at 12.8. > S&P 500 on verge of 5-year high day ahead of jobs data > Euro hits 2-week highs as ECB says ready to buy bonds > Treasuries fall on day before key jobs data > Gold hits 11-month high after ECB; $1,800 in sight > Oil jumps, gasoline futures gain 5 pct on refinery fire STOCKS TO WATCH --SEVEN & I HOLDINGS CO Seven & I Holdings Co's quarterly operating profit fell 2.5 percent as weaker sales at its supermarkets offset growth from its convenience stores, leading Japan's top general retailer to pare its annual outlook. --TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL CO LTD The drugmaker said it would buy privately held U.S. company LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc for an upfront payment of $60 million to expand its vaccine portfolio.