Nikkei may see soft start, Apple-related shares set to outperform
TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average may open lower on Wednesday after its two-day rally, but the market could push higher later in the day from gains in Apple Inc related stocks after the iPhone-maker reported stellar sales. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 14,650 to 14,850 on Wednesday after rising 0.8 percent to 14,778.51 on the previous day. The benchmark has risen 1.3 percent over the past two days. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,715, down 0.4 percent from the close in Osaka of 14,780. "The overall market may weaken partly because it is slightly overbought and the yen is strong, but individual earnings news is lifting interest in some stocks," said Kenichi Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities. Apple's shares rose 5 percent in after-hours trade after the iPhone marker reporting better-than-expected fiscal third quarter revenue on solid sales of its flagship iPhone. Analysts said that iPhone carriers SoftBank Corp and KDDI Corp may outperform, while manufacturers which provide parts to Apple including Daishinku Corp, Taiyo Yuden and Rohm Co may also attract buyers. Market participants said that exporters in general may weaken as the dollar trades below 100 yen, but with the April-June earnings season starting this week, companies reporting stellar results are expected to shine. Japan's export-reliant economy is expected to benefit from the overall weakening of the yen against the dollar since late last year. Nidec Corp will likely outperform after it hiked its operating profit outlook for the year ending March 2014 by 5 billion yen to 75 billion yen on Tuesday, due to increasing sales for industrial motors. > S&P 500 breaks winning streak, but UTX buoys Dow > U.S. dollar falls across the board in thin volume > Prices remain lower after average two-year auction > Gold rises to 1-month high on options-related buying > Oil rises in volatile spread trading STOCKS TO WATCH --Toyota Motor Corp Ford Motor Co and Toyota ended their partnership to develop hybrid pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles after studying the feasibility of such a project for nearly two years, Ford said on Tuesday. --Nidec Corp Nidec said Tuesday it hiked its operating profit outlook for the year ending March 2014 by 5 billion yen to 75 billion yen due to increasing sales for industrial motors.