Nikkei seen firmer as investors go bargain hunting
TOKYO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to edge early higher on Monday as investors pick up battered stocks hit by concerns over poor earnings, although investors will be watching Chinese data later in the day for cues. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,450 to 8,600, possibly breaking below the psychologically key 8,500 level if China's consumer price index and producer price index figures disappoint. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,545 on Friday, down 0.2 percent from the close in Osaka, while U.S. stocks also suffered their worst week in four months, hit on Friday by disappointing results from financials such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase & Co.. The Nikkei dropped for a fifth straight session on Friday to a two-month low of 8,534.12, marking its biggest weekly fall since May as investors fret over profit warnings and below par results as the earning season gets into gear. "After a big drop last week stocks are starting to look cheap," said Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities. "I think we'll see a pretty steady market today as it's difficult to make big moves and people have sold off a lot in anticipation of earnings that haven't come out yet." Concern about the impact of a global slowdown corporate profits has weighed heavily on Japanese equities over the past month, while the the market has also been hurt by a diplomatic spat that led Japanese exports to China to fall 9.6 percent in September on a year earlier. That has left stocks looking cheap, with stocks on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange t rading below book value on average with a pr ice-to-book ratio of 0. 9, a ccording to Thomson Reuters Starmine. > Wall St posts worst week since June, banks weigh > Commodity currencies firmer, more China data on tap > Prices rise on muted inflation; Spain eyed > Gold falls, US data feeds worry Fed could curb stimulus > Brent falls $1/bbl, spread to U.S. crude narrows STOCKS TO WATCH -HINO MOTORS LTD Truck maker Hino is to spend a combined 11 billion yen to increase output in Malaysia, linking up with local automobile firm MBM Resources Berhad, and will start assembling engines in Indonesia from the first half of 2014, according to the Nikkei business daily. -KOMATSU LTD Komatsu's operating profit for the April-September half likely fell 17 percent on the previous year to 111 billion yen ($1.42 billion) after Chinese sales slowed, the Nikkei business daily reported.
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