Japan's Nikkei seen retesting 53-month high on strong U.S. data

Sun Mar 3, 2013 6:10pm EST

TOKYO, March 4 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
expected retest a 53-month high on Monday after data showed
surprisingly strong U.S. manufacturing and consumer sentiment. 
    Japanese exporters were likely to rise sharply as they
benefit from strong growth in the United States. The upbeat U.S.
data also weighed on the yen, which lost 1 percent to 93.685 to
the dollar on Friday. The Japanese currency was quoted at 93.530
to the dollar on Monday.
    The Nikkei is likely to trade between 11,700 and
11,800, strategists said, which would eclipse the previous
53-month high of 11,662.52 tapped on Feb. 25. Nikkei futures in
Chicago closed at 11,715 on Friday, up 1.3 percent from
the Osaka close of 11,570. 
    "The U.S. ISM was very strong and the consumer sentiment was
good," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc.
    "The yen depreciated against the dollar. The closing price
of CME futures was above 11,700. The Nikkei will go up to around
the CME closing price."
    U.S. manufacturing activity expanded last month at its
fastest clip in 20 months, while U.S. consumer sentiment also
rose in February as Americans turned more optimistic about the
job market.  
    The Nikkei added 0.4 percent to 11,606.38 on Friday and was
up 1.9 percent last week, rising for a third straight week. The
broader Topix index gained 0.9 percent to 984.33.
    The benchmark Nikkei has rallied 34 percent since
mid-November, driven by the yen weakened after Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe called for the Bank of Japan to adopt more aggressive
monetary policy in his election campaign.
                 
> Wall St advances as data outweighs budget cuts            
> U.S. dollar rallies, shrugs off gov't spending cuts     
> Treasuries rise as spending cuts point to weaker growth  
> Gold down on strong U.S. data, ignores spending cuts    
> Brent crude erases 2013 gains, slips on U.S. budget cuts 

    STOCKS TO WATCH
    --TOYOTA MOTOR CORP 
    Toyota and its China joint ventures sold 36,300 cars in the
country in February, down 45.7 percent from a year earlier, the
Japanese automaker said on Friday. 
    Toyota posted a 4.3 percent year-on-year rise in vehicle
sales in the United States last month, while Honda Motor Co
 and Nissan Motor Co reported a 2 and 7.2
percent drop, respectively.
    --NOMURA HOLDINGS 
    Troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena is
seeking damages from two former executives and investment banks
Nomura and Deutsche Bank over derivatives trades
losses.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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