Nikkei set to test 7-1/2 month high as weak yen boosts exporters
TOKYO, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is set to rise on Wednesday, testing a 7-1/2 month high led by gains in tech shares and other exporters on the weak yen while Wall Street's strong performance buoyed sentiment. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 9,550 to 9,650 on Wednesday. If the index reaches the 9,600-line, it will be the first time since April 27. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,590, up from the close in Osaka of 9,520. "Chip-related shares may outperform on the strong Soxx index... we see favourable conditions for the Japanese market today," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that the current market's level makes Japanese shares attractive again. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, or Soxx, rose 1.9 percent overnight, which is favourable for sentiment in tech shares. The Nikkei ended 0.1 percent lower at 9,525.32 on Tuesday, taking the index out of overbought territory though new buying could bring the market back to that level again. Its 14-day relative strength index still stood near 70, a level deemed overbought that often signals a possible near-term pull back. The benchmark has risen 9.9 percent over the past month while the yen has softened after Shinzo Abe, the leader of the main opposition party which is expected to win a Dec. 16 election, called for aggressive policy action from the Bank of Japan, including embarking on "unlimited easing". However, volume may stay light as investors keep an eye on the outcome of a two-day policy-setting meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve which started on Tuesday. The Fed is expected to announce a new round of Treasury bond purchases when the meeting ends on Wednesday to replace its "Operation Twist" stimulus, which expires at the end of the year. The broader Topix index eased 0.3 percent to 786.07 on Tuesday. > Big tech boosts S&P 500 to best close since election > Euro gains on German data; focus shifts to Fed policy > Prices drop on U.S., Europe hopes; Fed eyed > Gold edges down on U.S. budget hopes before FOMC > Oil up on OPEC output decline, ahead of group's meeting STOCKS TO WATCH --Panasonic Corp Panasonic plans to sell subsidiary Sanyo Electric Co.'s digital camera business to Advantage Partners LLP as early as March, the Nikkei reported.
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