Nikkei set to fall sharply as Italy election spooks investors

Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:14pm EST

TOKYO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
set to fall sharply on Tuesday, retreating from a 53-month high
marked the previous day, as the yen strengthens on uncertainty
following the Italian elections  with some big exporters to
Europe set to be hit hard.    
    Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade
between 11,200 to 11,450 on Tuesday after ending up 2.4 percent
to 11,662.52, its highest level since late September 2008.    
Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,185, down 4.0
percent from the close in Osaka of 11,650.
    Analysts said that most selling could come in early morning
trade as investors who bought Monday will likely unwind their
positions immediately. They added that such stocks as Sony Corp
, Mazda Motor Corp and Nikon Corp,
which are sensitive to the euro zone economy, will likely suffer
a big sell-off.
    "The stock market hates uncertainty the most. As aggressive
buying lifted the market sharply yesterday, we will likely see
the opposite today," said Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist
at SMBC Friend Securities.
    He added that the Nikkei's support line is seen at its
25-day moving average of 11,144.65 for this week.
    On Monday, U.S. stocks suffered their biggest drop since
November after a strong showing in Italian elections by groups
opposed to the country's economic reforms triggered worry that
Europe's debt problems could once again destabilize the global
economy.
    Against the yen, the euro hit 118.86 yen, the
weakest since Jan. 24, while the dollar dropped to 91.75 yen
, reversing earlier gains that drove it to a more than
33-month high of 94.76 yen, according to Reuters data.
    Italy's centre-left coalition holds a slim lead over former
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right bloc in the
election for the lower house of parliament, three TV projections
indicated. But any government must also command a majority in
the Senate, a race that is decided by region. 
    On Monday, the market was boosted by news that the
government was likely to nominate Asian Development Bank
President Haruhiko Kuroda, an advocate of aggressive monetary
easing, as its next central bank governor.

> Wall St trips and falls on cloudy Italian election      
> Euro slumps on Italy fears; yen surges broadly          
> Yields dip to 1-month low on Italy election uncertainty 
> Gold up nearly 1 pct on Wall St losses, euro zone worry 
> Brent up as China imports rise, Italian elections weigh 
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    
    --Japan Tobacco Inc 
    Japan's government will sell around a third of its stake in
Japan Tobacco, the world's No.3 tobacco company, to raise about
$10.4 billion for reconstruction of areas devastated by a 2011
earthquake and tsunami.