Nikkei seen lower as euro fears spur profit taking
TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is set to drop on Tuesday as renewed fears about the debt crisis in peripheral euro zone countries prompt investors to lock in easy profits following five straight days of gains. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 11,100 and 11,250 on Tuesday, easing from a 33-month closing high of 11,260.35 hit on Monday. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,140, down 1.2 percent from the close in Osaka of 11,270, while U.S. indices also backed away from five-year highs as rising Spanish and Italian bond yields alerted investors to renewed strife in Europe. Spain's prime minister faced calls to resign over a corruption scandal, while a probe of alleged misconduct involving an Italian bank was expected to widen three weeks before a national election. "There will only be a spurt of profit-taking in reaction to this kind of news because it's just one small piece of a very long and drawn-out crisis," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. "But the U.S. fell off highs and the Nikkei is also begging for a fall after rising for five straight days." The Nikkei rose 0.6 percent on Monday after the dollar gained on strong U.S. jobs and manufacturing data. Some 3.54 billion shares changed hands, the highest number since March 2011, when a massive earthquake hit Japan. Japan is in the midst of a relatively disappointing earnings season, with about two-thirds of the 88 Nikkei companies that have reported so far missing analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine. But investors are optimistic that recent weakness in the yen will boost the bottom line for companies in the future. The Japanese currency has slid 14 percent since mid-November, propelling the Nikkei up 30 percent, after Shinzo Abe, then leader of the opposition party and now prime minister, called for a more favourable exchange rate and an aggressive shift in monetary and fiscal policy. > S&P 500 has worst day since Nov;McGraw-Hill shares sink > Euro sinks,political worries renew debt crisis concerns > Bonds up as stock losses, euro zone concern revive bid > Platinum rises on Amplats, car sales reports > Oil prices sink on profit-taking after positive streak STOCKS TO WATCH - HITACHI LTD Hitachi Ltd cut its full-year profit outlook by about 13 percent on Monday to 420 billion yen ($4.5 billion), citing a weak economic recovery in Europe and a slowdown in emerging markets. -JAPAN AIRLINES Japan Airlines Co Ltd raised its operating profit forecast by 12.7 percent to 186 billion yen ($2 billion) for the year to March 31. It predicted the impact on its earnings from the grounding of Boeing's Dreamliner jet at around 700 million yen for the rest of this fiscal year. -FAST RETAILING Fast Retailing Co Ltd said on Monday that same-store sales at its Uniqlo clothing chain in Japan fell 5.5 percent in January from a year earlier, citing fewer number of Saturdays and Sundays in the month than last year. -TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc widened its operating loss forecast to 275 billion yen ($3 billion), from previous guidance of 225 billion yen, as a weaker yen pushes up fuel costs. -FUJITSU LTD Fujitsu is likely to post a net loss of around 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the year ending March 31, a reversal from a previous forecast of a 25 billion yen profit, as the cost of restructuring its struggling semiconductor business ramps up, the Nikkei business daily said on Tuesday.
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