Nikkei likely to edge up on Wall Street gains; ex-dividend eyed
TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average is expected to edge higher on Wednesday after Wall Street gained on positive U.S. economic data and as expectations for monetary easing by Japan's central bank buoy sentiment, but gains may be capped because of stocks going ex-dividend. With many Tokyo stocks going ex-dividend - after Tuesday was the deadline for investors to buy shares and be eligible to receive dividends for the current financial year - traders said the effect of the resulting adjustment to prices would take about 90 points off the Nikkei and about 9 points off the Topix. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 12,400 and 12,550 on Wednesday, after ending down 0.6 percent at 12,471.62 the previous day. The Nikkei now stands below its five-day moving average of 12,492.11. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 12,370, up 0.8 percent from the close in Osaka of 12,470. "If you take ex-dividend price declines into account, overall gains will likely be limited at the end of the day," said Toshihiko Matsuno, a senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. He added that the market remained nervous about the euro zone's debt problems due to the negative implications of a rescue plan for Cyprus. "In terms of global market news, there is a mix of both positives and negatives, so most investors may stay on the sidelines for now," Matsuno said. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed to another record close and the S&P 500 came within striking distance of its all-time closing high, as strong data on home prices and manufacturing fed optimism about the economy. The benchmark Nikkei has rallied 44 percent since mid-November, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started calling for bold monetary easing and expansionary fiscal policy to revive the economy. Now that the market expects positive news related to easing measures at the Bank Of Japan's April 3-4 policy meeting under its new leadership team, sentiment will likely remain upbeat this week. "Big gains may not be seen until new developments become clearer, but expectations for the BOJ's new leadership support investors' risk appetite for Japan stocks," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. > Data lifts Dow to a record, S&P near record close > Euro near 4-mth low vs dollar; Cyprus concerns linger > Treasuries prices gain as Cyprus fears remain > Gold falls for 3rd day on euro calm, bright US data > Oil up on strong US data STOCKS TO WATCH -Aeon Co, Daiei Inc Aeon will raise its stake in Daiei to more than 40 percent through a tender offer to become the supermarket operator's top shareholder after acquiring 24 percent from Marubeni Corp , sources told Reuters. -Sharp Corp Talks on an alliance between Sharp and Hon Hai Precision Industry will continue even though a deadline for a deal between the two lapsed on Tuesday. Hon Hai said it remained committed to buy a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp, which would make the Taiwanese company the largest shareholder in the Japanese TV maker.
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