Exporters to lift Nikkei after S&P hits record
TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to rise on Friday with exporters leading the way following gains on Wall Street, but volume may be subdued on the last trading day of the fiscal year. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 12,300 to 12,500 on Friday after dropping 1.3 percent to 12,335.96. The index stands 0.8 percent below its five-day moving average of 12,437.27. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 12,415, up 0.1 percent from the close in Osaka of 12,400. The S&P 500 set a record closing high on Thursday, which will likely prompt investors to buy back into exporters which had been battered by worries about Cyprus, analysts said. "Investors' risk-off stance has receded," said Yoshiyuki Kondo, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. "Investors may not build large positions before the weekend and on the last trading day, but sentiment remains bright for the next fiscal year, so we will likely see the market fare pretty well." Several key indicators could move the market next week, when new funds will flow into stocks with the April 1 start of the new year, analysts said. The Bank Of Japan's quarterly tankan survey of corporate sentiment is due out on Monday, while the central bank's first policy meeting under its new leadership will be held April 3-4. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday that the central bank would consider buying longer-dated Japanese government bonds and other risk assets, and would continue monetary easing until its 2 percent inflation target is achieved. > S&P 500 ends at record closing high > Euro wins day vs U.S. dollar but loses first quarter > Euro zone bid helps bonds stem quarterly bleed > Gold falls, down for quarter as safe-haven bid fades > Oil settles higher, U.S. crude surges 5.9 percent in Q1 STOCKS TO WATCH --Panasonic Corp Panasonic said it will target an annual operating profit of 350 billion yen ($3.7 billion) and a margin of 5 percent by March 2016 as the company president unveiled his blueprint to revive the sprawling electronic giant. --Itochu Corp Itochu said on Thursday it would lay off two middle distillates traders and an unspecified number of operations staff from its Singapore desk as part of a reorganisation of the unit.