Nikkei seen weighed by weak earnings outlooks, BOJ hopes support
TOKYO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average was seen moving sideways on Thursday with investors weighing up profit forecast cuts from Nintendo Co Ltd and others as earnings season gets under way, although expectations of further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan should provide support. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,850 and 9,000 on Thursday after Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,965, down 0.1 percent from the close in Osaka of 8,970. "There is a very strong wait-and-see feeling at the moment and most people are playing individual stocks rather than the market as a whole," said Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities. "I have a feeling that today's tone could be determined by whether Nintendo is sold off on disappointment, or stays steady if investors think there can be no more bad news out." Nintendo Co Ltd cut its annual profit outlook to 20 billion yen ($251 million), down from July's 35 billion yen forecast and below the consensus of 27 billion yen, just as it prepares to launch the newest version of its popular Wii console in the hope that it will spur growth. Japan's earnings season is about to get into full swing after profit reports in the United States, now about midway through the quarterly reporting season, have been disappointing with tech firms such as Google Inc in particular logging unexpectedly weak earnings. So far, of the 186 S&P 500 companies that have reported, just 38.2 percent have posted revenue above analysts' expectations, below the 62 percent long-term average, according to Thomson Reuters data. Investors are fearing that Japanese companies, saddled with a strong yen that erodes overseas revenue when repatriated, in addition to slowing global demand, could end up slashing forecasts even deeper. The Nikkei fell 0.7 percent to 8,954 on Wednesday, snapping a seven-session winning streak prompted by investors judging that their pessimism about forecast cuts was overdone, as well as a softer yen that reflected greater risk appetite. The benchmark is now seen treading in a tight range until the Bank of Japan's next policy meeting on Oct. 30, with investors expecting policymakers to increase its asset-buying scheme and to discuss future steps. The U.S. Federal Reserve held its course on policy at its meeting on Wednesday, and said it would keep buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed debt per month to keep interest rates low until the job picture gets better. > Wall St falls after tepid earnings and steady Fed > Dollar holds gains vs euro as Fed stays the course > Prices slip after Fed; auction tepid > Gold falls to $1,700/oz as Fed offers few surprises > Oil falls on US crude stocks rise, Europe's weak data STOCKS TO WATCH -NINTENDO CO LTD Nintendo cut its annual profit outlook to 20 billion yen ($251 million) from the 35 billion yen forecast in July and below the consensus of 27 billion yen, just as it is about to launch the newest version of its popular Wii console in the hope it will spur growth. -SHARP CORP Sharp is to log a group net loss of around 400 billion yen for the April-September half due to restructuring costs and valuation losses on inventory, according to the Nikkei business daily, a loss almost double that projected in August. -KDDI CORP KDDI said on Wednesday that its operating profit for the six months ended on Sept. 30 had fallen 13.3 percent compared to a year earlier, while net profit took a dive of 43.1 percent. However, it maintained its previous forecast of a 500 billion yen ($6.26 billion) profit for the year ending March 2013. -MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORP Mitsubishi Motors hiked its operating profit forecast for the six months ended on Sept. 30 by 3 percent to 30.8 billion yen ($386 million). -NIDEC CORP Nidec cut its operating profit forecast for the year ending on March 2013 to 80 billion yen ($1.00 billion) from a previous forecast of 95 billion yen, but reported a 5 percent increase in operating profit in the six months to Sept. 30.