Nikkei likely to rise after strong U.S. jobs report

Sun Dec 9, 2012 6:08pm EST

TOKYO, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
expected to open higher on Monday after a better-than-expected
U.S. jobs report, although a sharp drop in U.S. consumer
confidence may cap gains.
    Exporters are likely to lead the rise, as the yen was traded
at 82.55 to the dollar on Monday, not far from a 7-1/2-month
high of 82.84 touched on Nov. 22.
    The Nikkei is likely to trade between 9,500 and
9,600, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,545 on Friday, down 0.2 percent from the
Osaka close of 9,560.
    "The U.S. jobs data was better than expected, but the
Michigan consumer sentiment data was disappointing and that kept
U.S. gains in check and will likely do the same in Japan," said
Hiroichi Nishi, equity general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
    U.S. employers created 146,000 jobs last month, defying
predictions that superstorm Sandy would deal a big blow to the
labour market, while the unemployment rate fell to a near
four-year low of 7.7 percent.
    But a steep drop in U.S. consumer confidence in December,
the largest fall in more than 1-1/2 years, offered a cautionary
note on the health of the world's largest economy.
 
    On Friday, the Nikkei slipped 0.2 percent to 9,527.39, while
the broader Topix added 0.2 percent to 790.24.
    The benchmark Nikkei is up 12.7 percent this year, in line
with a 12.8 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 but lagging
a 14.2 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600
 index.
        
> Dow, S&P rise on jobs, but Apple bites Nasdaq again       
> Dollar climbs vs euro on U.S. jobs data; Fed eyed       
> Treasuries fall on jobs growth, ahead of new supply      
> Gold rises from 1-month low after U.S. payrolls         
> Oil seesaws as U.S. job growth offsets budget deadlock   
    
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    --TOYOTA MOTOR CORP 
    Toyota is set to delay the launch of a new production line
at its plant in Tianjin, northern China, because a decline in
its Chinese sales is likely to continue for the foreseeable
future, Japan's Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.
 
    --PANASONIC CORP 
    Panasonic, Japan's struggling maker of Viera brand TVs, is
seeking buyers for some of its properties to trim its fixed
costs and improve cashflow at a time of intense competition,
particularly from South Korean rivals such as Samsung
Electronics Co. 
    --KOMATSU LTD 
    The construction machinery maker plans to invest 30 billion
yen to 50 billion yen ($364 million-$607 million) over the next
three years to make its Japanese plants more productive, the
Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday. 
    --TOSHIBA CORP 
    Toshiba said its Italian unit has won a $243 million
engineering, procurement and construction contract for part of
an undersea power link between Italy and Montenegro.