Japan's Nikkei set to rise ahead of BOJ meeting
TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is likely to open higher on Wednesday, ahead of the outcome of the Bank of Japan meeting, buoyed by the U.S. Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes closing at record highs on Federal Reserve officials' reassurance on the central bank's stimulus programme. The Nikkei is likely to trade between 15,350 and 15,550, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 15,485 on Tuesday, up 0.6 percent from the Osaka close of 15,400. "The buying just doesn't stop," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities. "Today, if the Nikkei gets above 15,500, volatility could increase, trading could become choppy, but with foreigners still buying Japanese shares, the trend might still point upward for a while." Japanese pension funds are not major buyers but some of them are no longer selling into rallies, Hirano added. The BOJ is expected to stand pat on monetary policy despite jitters over the recent volatility in bond markets, hoping it can prevent a renewed spike in yields by fine-tuning market operations. In the United States, two senior Fed officials on Tuesday played down the chances that the central bank would signal a readiness to reduce its bond buying at its meeting next month, dampening speculation the Fed's ultra-easy monetary policy might end soon and boosting stocks. On Tuesday, the Nikkei added 0.1 percent to 15,381.02, its highest closing level since December 2007. The broader Topix index inched up 0.1 percent to 1,270.39. The benchmark Nikkei has rallied 48 percent this year, and it has risen more than 8 percent since May 9, when the dollar broke above the 100-yen mark. "Japan is rapidly becoming a big momentum trade and thus liable to volatility; trading a momentum market has to be a case of trying to stay long quality rather than chasing beta," Mark Tinker, manager at AXA Framlington Global Opportunities Fund, wrote in a note. "The near term risks we see are largely associated with the current behaviour of the Japanese government bond market." > Dow, S&P ends at records on Fed officials' reassurance > Dollar dips vs euro before Bernanke testimony, yen slips > Treasuries gain on dovish Fed speakers > Gold cuts losses as euro firms before Bernanke testimony > Oil falls on rising U.S. gasoline stocks STOCKS TO WATCH --TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL CO LTD Amag Pharmaceuticals Inc said its marketing partner in Switzerland, Takeda Pharmaceutical, is recalling a batch of Amag's anaemia drug, Rienso, because of a death and several cases of hypersensitivity. --SONY CORP Sony is considering evaluating a proposal from top shareholder Third Point LLC to spin off part of its movie and music business, the Nikkei newspaper said. --DENSO CORP Two executives at Denso have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices of electronic auto parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp and will cooperate with an ongoing criminal investigation, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday. --HONDA MOTOR CO LTD Honda's small passenger jet will not be licensed to fly by authorities in the United States until the second half of 2014, a year later than the company originally planned, the company said on Tuesday.