Nikkei set to rise on Wall St, data pointing to firm global economy
TOKYO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to rise above 13,500 on Friday on the back of gains on Wall Street, with upbeat factory activity data from around the world likely to benefit exporters. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 13,400 to 13,700 on Friday after falling 0.4 percent to 13,365.17 on Thursday - the index is down 2.1 percent so far this week. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 13,575, up 1.7 percent from the close in Osaka of 13,350. Analysts said that investors, who have been shackled by concerns of an imminent reduction in the Federal Reserve's massive stimulus, will likely chase the market higher after data from China, the U.S. and Europe suggested the global economy was on a firmer footing. "These are positive catalysts as those countries are Japan's major export markets," said Toshihiko Matsuno, senior strategist at SMBC Friend Securities. "Yesterday's China's upbeat PMI data soothed the mood while some investors were frustrated over concerns regarding emerging countries. And therefore investors were not ready to turn 'risk on' yet. The data from the U.S. and Europe reassured them." On Thursday, purchasing managers surveys showed better-than-expected growth in the euro zone and U.S. manufacturing activity rose to a five-month high in August, while data from the U.S. Labor Department also showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits held near a six-year low last week. Still, analysts cautioned that the persistent concerns over the Fed's likely tapering of its stimulus, perhaps as early as next month, could draw more capital out of emerging countries. "We need to be careful of their market moves until there are more signs about the Fed's tapering," Matsuno said. > Wall St climbs after extended Nasdaq outage > Dollar gains on Fed tapering view, higher yields > Yields at two-year highs on taper fears, lack of clarity > Gold up after Chinese PMI data, downside risk seen > Oil edges up on strong China, Euro zone data STOCKS TO WATCH --Mitsubishi Motors Corp Mitsubishi Motors plans to construct an automobile plant in the Philippines by around 2015 for roughly 20 billion yen as it shifts focus to Southeast Asia, the Nikkei reported.