Nikkei set to break above 15,000 on Wall St gains, election hopes

Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:44pm EDT

TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is
expected to rise above 15,000 on Friday, helped by gains on Wall
Street and a weakening yen, while expectations of a ruling party
victory in this weekend's upper house election are supporting
sentiment. 
    Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between
14,800 and 15,100 after rising 1.3 percent to 14,808.50 on
Thursday. If the index trades above the 15,000 mark, it will be
its first move above this level since May 24.
    Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,965, up 1.1
percent from the close in Osaka at 14,800.
    U.S. stocks closed at record highs on Thursday on strong
corporate earnings, while Wednesday's comments by Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben on monetary policy further reassured
markets.
    In the domestic market, hopes for an economic recovery are
boosting investors' appetites, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
Liberal Democratic Party-led bloc is expected to win a hefty
majority in the upper house election on July 21.
    That victory, if it occurs, would end the "twisted Diet" in
which the opposition controls the upper chamber, giving Abe more
freedom to push "Abenomics", his aggressive monetary easing and
government spending policies.
    "The market welcomes the end of a twisted Diet as it would
make it easier to pass legislation and there are hopes that the
government will implement an effective growth strategy soon,"
said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho
Securities.
    With the April-June earnings seasons around the corner,
analysts said expectations of higher profits were growing as the
yen weakened, improving export earnings.
    The dollar gained 0.9 percent to 100.44 yen on
Thursday, having reached a session peak of 100.65 yen.
    The Nikkei has dropped around 7 percent since the year's
peak on May 23, but is still up 43 percent this year.
    
> Dow, S&P 500 end at all-time highs on earnings, Bernanke 
> Yen slips ahead of Japan poll, U.S. data lifts dollar  
> U.S. bond prices fall on upbeat factory, claims data    
> Gold rebounds on crude oil gains, short-covering       
> US crude hits 16-mth high above $108                    
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    
    --Sharp Corp 
    Sharp plans to raise about 100 billion yen ($994 million)
through a share sale, Kyodo reported, citing sources familiar
with the matter. 
    
    --SoftBank Corp 
    SoftBank offered to pay $8.5 billion to acquire Universal
Music but its owner, French media and entertainment conglomerate
Vivendi, rejected the bid, the Financial Times reported
on Thursday.
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