Nikkei set to edge up on upbeat US data; Portugal turmoil may cap gains
TOKYO, July 4 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to edge up and hold near the 14,000-mark on Thursday on fresh signs that the U.S. economic recovery is gathering pace, but buyers are likely to remain cautious on worries over political turmoil in Egypt and Portugal. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 13,900 to 14,200 on Thursday after shedding 0.3 percent to 14,055.56 on Wednesday. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,040, up 0.1 percent from the close in Osaka of 14,020. Analysts said the mood is positive as U.S. stocks rose modestly before the Independence Day holiday on news of surprisingly strong private sector job creation. Although the country's services sector data showed unexpectedly weak growth, investors took comfort from the survey's employment gauge. "Investors are focused on Friday's U.S. jobs data, so they won't take large positions today... but it's a good sign that U.S. stocks rose before the holiday," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. Still, while some gains are expected during the day as the dollar is trading around 100 yen, the market is cautious about the yen's levels due to unrest in Egypt and political turmoil in Portugal, where talks over the government's future threatened to reignite the euro-zone crisis. "Volume is likely to stay low because of fewer participants as the U.S. markets will be closed later today," Nishi said. At least 10 people were killed when opponents and supporters of Egypt's deposed president, Mohamed Mursi, clashed after the army announced his removal on Wednesday, state media and officials said. In Portugal, the 10-year bond yield shot above 8 percent and its stock market slumped 5 percent on fears a snap election could derail Lisbon's exit next year from a bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund. In late afternoon New York trading, the dollar was down 0.8 percent at 99.84 yen, off the day's low of 99.24. The dollar last traded at 99.99. > Wall St posts modest gains in short volatile session > Yen rises on geopolitical tensions; focus on ECB, U.S. jobs data > U.S. bond prices slip while nervously awaiting jobs data > Gold buoyed by weak dollar, safe-haven buying > U.S. crude ends at 14-month high on stocks draw, Egypt STOCKS TO WATCH --Toyota Motor Corp Toyota and its dealers are quietly manoeuvring to allay risks from periodic eruptions of anti-Japan sentiment in China, even as recent sales data suggest a slow but steady recovery for Japanese automakers since the latest flare-up last year.
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