Nikkei set to trade in range, earnings eyed

Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:40pm EST

TOKYO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
set to trade in a 200 point range on Wednesday with investors
likely to stay on the sidelines seeking more trading cues from
local earnings, and the weak yen trend is likely to support the
market above 10,800.
    Market participants said the Nikkei was likely to trade
between 10,800 and 11,000 on Wednesday after ending up 0.4
percent to close at 10,866.72 the previous day. The Nikkei is
1.2 percent below a 32-month high of 11,002.86 reached on
Monday.
    Analysts said that investors are focused on quarterly
earnings for the Oct-Dec period, and newsflow related to
prospects for the fiscal year ending March 2014 could be a 
catalyst for prices to move out of th expected range.
    "Investors have shifted their focus to prospects for the
full-year (ending this March) as well as next year (through
March 2014)," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager
of equity investment at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that
stocks like Komatsu Ltd may face a sell-off after
cutting its operating profit forecast by 12 percent to 230
billion yen ($2.5 billion) for the year to end-March. 
    "But even if some earnings disappoint the market, an impact
on the overall market should be limited because investors will
probably buy shares on the dips as fundamental sentiment is
being supported by Abenomics," Nishi said.
    Separately, traders said Softbank Corp may
outperform after its ADR rose overnight as Dish Network Corp
 has decided against filing to block Sprint Nextel
Corp's proposed deal with Softbank, at least for now.
 
    Investors have been piling into the Japanese market in the 
hope that "Abenomics", prime minister Shinzo Abe's brand of 
economic policy involving aggressive monetary easing and a 
weaker yen, will boost such stocks as exporters and financials.
    The Nikkei has risen about 25 percent since mid-November, 
when Abe, then a candidate for leader of the opposition 
and now Prime Minister, began calling for aggressive monetary 
easing. 
    Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 10,905, up 0.1
percent from the close in Osaka of 10,890.
    The broader Topix gained 0.8 percent to 920.76 on
Tuesday.
    
> Wall St advances as defensive stocks extend rally         
> Euro advances as euro zone prospects brighten; Fed looms 
> Prices dip as investors seek to pay less at auctions     
> Gold rises, ending four-day slide; FOMC eyed            
> Positive U.S. housing data pushes oil prices up          
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    
    --Softbank Corp 
    The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland
Security are examining the proposed takeover of Sprint Nextel
 by Japan's Softbank for national security and other
issues, and have asked the U.S. telecommunications regulator to
defer any action on the deal. 
    Separately, the Nikkei said that Softbank likely have
generated a group operating profit of about 590 billion yen
($6.51 billion)for nine months ended December.
    
    --Komatsu Ltd 
    Komatsu, the world's second-biggest maker of construction
machinery, cut its annual profit for a second time as demand for
mining equipment in Indonesia tumbled on the back of steep
declines in thermal coal prices. 
    
    --Idemitsu Kosan Co 
    Idemitsu, Japan's No. 3 oil refiner, said on Tuesday it will
form a partnership with Canada's AltaGas Ltd to export
liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to Asia,
starting as early as 2017. 
    
    --Toshiba Corp 
    Toshiba's U.S. unit Westinghouse expects Japan to start
gradually begin putting much of its nuclear power plant fleet
back into operation after dealing with safety issues following
the Fukushima disaster. 
    
    --Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd 
    Mitsubishi Heavy has not been contacted by Boeing Co 
on any changes in Boeing's production plan of the 787
Dreamliner, an executive of the Japanese firm told reporters on
Tuesday. 
  
    --Yahoo Japan Inc 
    Yahoo Japan said on Tuesday that it plans buy back up to 20
billion yen ($220 million) of its own shares, or 1.4 percent of
its issued stock.