Nikkei set to end 4-day winning run on U.S. fiscal woes
TOKYO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is expected to break its four-day winning streak on Wednesday, reflecting fears that a claimed lack of progress in budget talks could trigger a fiscal crunch and potential recession. The Nikkei was likely to trade between 9,300 and 9,450, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,365 on Tuesday, down 0.7 percent from the Osaka close of 9,430. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday that he was disappointed there had been "little progress" among Democratic and Republican legislators as they try to reach a deal to avoid a year-end 'fiscal cliff'. "The Japanese stock will decline today ... a little bit of correction," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc. Hiroki said the fiscal cliff issue - about $600 billion of spending cuts and tax increases that would start taking effect in the new year, which could push the United States into recession - was not new news, so the correction would be small. On Tuesday, the Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 9,423.30, hitting its highest closing level in seven months, while the broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 781.60. The benchmark Nikkei has risen 8.8 percent since Nov. 14, spurred by expectations that Japan's main opposition party would win next month's election and increase pressure on the central bank to take more aggressive action to reverse Japan's persistent deflation. The Nikkei is up 11.4 percent this year, largely in line with a 11.2 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 11.6 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index. In terms of valuations, Japanese stocks carry a 12-month forward price-to-earnings of 11.3, cheaper than the S&P 500's 12.1 but slightly more expensive than the STOXX Europe 600's 11, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed. > Wall St falls, hit by Reid's 'fiscal cliff' comments > Euro falls versus dollar, yen on doubts over Greece deal > Treasuries gain modestly on worries over fiscal crisis > Gold down on U.S. fiscal worries, options in focus > Oil dips on U.S. budget negotiation uncertainty STOCKS TO WATCH --SONY CORP Sony has been approached by at least three investment banks offering to sell its battery business as the struggling Japanese group looks to offload non-core assets and focus on reviving its consumer electronics business, banking sources said. --CANON INC Canon plans to shrink its consolidated inventory by about 100 billion yen ($1.22 billion) over three months to Dec. 31, the Nikkei newspaper said. --INPEX CORP Japan's top oil and gas explorer Inpex has awarded an Indonesian subsidiary of John Wood Group plc, the design work for its Abadi gas field project in Indonesia's offshore Masela Block, the Japanese firm said on Tuesday.