Nikkei set to hold near 5-year highs; Fast Retailing eyed

Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:28pm EDT

TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
likely to hold near five-year highs on Friday, underpinned by
ongoing optimism about the economic outlook on the back of bold
government and central bank policies, but the pace of gains may
slow given the steep rise in the past week.
    Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between
13,400 to 13,600 on Friday after rising 2 percent to end at
13,549.16, the highest level since July 2008.
    Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 13,495, up 0.04
percent from the close in Osaka of 13,490. Record
closing highs on Wall Street overnight is also expected to
support the local market.
    The Nikkei has gained nearly 10 percent since the Bank Of
Japan stunned markets a week ago with a plan to inject $1.4
trillion into the Japanese economy over two years to beat
deflation and achieve its target of 2 percent inflation.
    "Unless there are strong catalysts to drive the market
higher such as the yen's further weakness to 100 yen against the
dollar, profit taking is natural given the steep rises," said
Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
    The dollar last traded at 99.72 yen on Thursday, not
far from the session high of 99.94, its highest level since
April 2009.
    Overall, the Nikkei has surged over 50 percent since
November on the back of the bold monetary and fiscal
expansionist policies.
    Traders said the direction of the Nikkei on the day will
also likely depend on the performance of index heavyweight Fast
Retailing, which announced its forecasts for the year
ending August.
    It left its full-year operating profit forecast unchanged at
147.5 billion yen ($1.48 billion), slightly lower than analysts'
forecast of 149.9 billion yen.
 
> Wall St rises for 4th day, but weak tech hits Nasdaq     
> Dollar hits 4-yr high vs yen, rise to 100 mark expected 
> U.S. bond prices rise, though Japanese bids elusive     
> Gold rebounds from 1-week low as dollar slips          
> Oil settles lower as demand view dims, inventory rises  
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    
    --Fast Retailing 
    Fast Retailing, Asia's biggest apparel company, left its
full-year operating profit forecast unchanged despite a jump in
sales in March at its flagship Uniqlo stores in Japan, as doubts
linger whether aggressive economic policies will thaw a
decades-long freeze in Japanese consumer sentiment.
 
    
    --Marubeni Corp 
    Marubeni will form a joint venture with South Korean SK
Shipping Co to buy two liquid natural gas (LNG) carriers to
transport shale gas and lease them to Total SA, the
Nikkei reported.
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