Nikkei set to open lower, investors wary of further volatility
TOKYO, May 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is likely to endure another volatile session on Monday as investors remain on edge after last week's turbulent trade that drove the market to its worst one-day loss in two years last week. Market players expect the Nikkei to open lower and trade between 14,000 to 14,800 during the session, with Wall Street's losses on Friday and a rebound in the yen also hurting sentiment. The market advanced 0.9 percent to end at 14,612.45 on Friday, but not before seeing some wild gyrations that an one point pushed the benchmark down 3.5 percent to 13,981.52, which is pegged as a support line for now. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,305, down 2.1 percent from the close in Osaka of 14,610. Analysts said that last week's turbulence was partly due to high frequency trading by hedge funds such as commodity trading advisors and retail investors engaging in margin trade. As a result, investors are likely to remain wary about further volatility, they said. On Thursday, the Nikkei dropped 7.3 percent, it's largest single-day loss since the March 2001 earthquake and tsunami. "Last week's shock will probably last throughout this week," said Kenichi Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities. "But the Japanese market's fundamentals in the mid-to-long term have not changed, so there still is upside in the longer term." The Nikkei has gained 40 percent this year and is up 18 percent since April 4, when the Bank Of Japan announced a sweeping monetary expansion campaign to vanquish years of deflation and revive growth. Market players said investors have been waiting to lock-in profits after the steep rise in Japanese equities, and those who were buying stocks and selling bonds reversed their positions when the yield on the 10-year cash bonds rose as high as one percent on Thursday. "The market may be volatile, but volume may not be so large as U.S. markets will be closed today," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding that the Nikkei should be supported around 14,000 for Monday. Markets in the United States are closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. The dollar posted its worst week against the yen in a year on Friday as volatility in stocks and uncertainty about the outlook for U.S. monetary policy spurred investors to pare back bets against the Japanese currency. The dollar hit a session low of 100.68 on Friday, according to Reuters data, a two-week low. It was last at 101.01 yen. > Wall St posts 1st weekly loss since mid-April on Fed angst > U.S. dollar marks worst week vs yen in a year > Prices rise, 10-year yields fluctuate around 2 pct > Gold dips, but 2.15 pct weekly rise biggest in a month > Oil edges up on book squaring, but posts big weekly drop STOCKS TO WATCH --Sharp Corp Sharp will suspend mass production of LCD panels at a facility in Taki, Mie prefecture, as early as next month to streamline small and midsize operations, the Nikkei reported. --Kobe Steel Ltd Kobe Steel plans to suspend a blast furnace at its Kobe works to survive intensifying competition from South Korean and Chinese rivals and rebuild its core steel operations, the Nikkei reported.
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