TOKYO, April 4 The Nikkei average is expected to
open lower on Thursday, ahead of the outcome of the Bank of
Japan's policy-setting meeting, on concerns over the U.S.
recovery after weak service sector data and a slowdown in job
hiring by private employers.
The Nikkei is likely to trade between 12,000 and
12,300, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 12,185 on Wednesday, down 1.4 percent from
the Osaka close of 12,360.
Data from the United Stated provided an early bearish lead
for the Nikkie. U.S. private employers added 158,000 jobs last
month, its weakest pace in five months, while growth in the vast
service sector slowed, raising concerns that the economic
recovery could be hitting a soft patch.
The focus in the local market, however, was on the
all-important outcome of the BOJ meeting.
"Because of the falls in Wall Street and Nikkei futures in
Chicago, the Nikkei would start trading lower and then hover at
the level until the outcome of the BOJ meeting," said Masayuki
Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.
"Even if the outcome is in line with the previous forecast,
or less, if Governor (Haruhiko) Kuroda can give the market an
impression that more aggressive measures will follow later this
month, at the second meeting scheduled on 26th, or a clear
impression of a 'regime change', the market would still place
high hopes on the BOJ's future easings," Doshida said.
The BOJ, which ends its two-day meeting later in the day, is
expected to embark on a bold experiment by pulling out all the
stops to get consumer prices rising, starting with ramping up
its bond buying and extending the maturities of that debt.
The benchmark Nikkei surged 19.3 percent in January-March,
its best quarterly performance in nearly four years, on
expectations that the central bank would undertake massive
monetary stimulus to drag the world's third-largest economy out
of deflation, and revive growth.
The Nikkei rebounded 3 percent to 12,362.20 on Wednesday,
its biggest one-day percentage gain in two months after shedding
3.2 percent in the previous two sessions. The broader Topix
index climbed 1.9 percent to 1,010.43.
> Wall St falls on signs of weak economy, North Korea
> Dollar weakens broadly ahead of ECB, BOJ meetings
> Treasuries rise as ADP data tempers job hopes
> Gold hits 9-month low as crude and equities slump
> Oil down most in 5 months as US inventories near record
STOCKS TO WATCH
--MAZDA MOTOR CORP
Mazda and its joint venture in China sold 15,734 cars in the
country in March, down 25.2 percent from a year earlier, the
Japanese automakers said on Wednesday.
Japanese car makers' sales in the world's second-largest
economy in the first three months of the year have yet to
recover fully from last year's slump, and foreign rivals are
capitalising in a market expecting 7 percent growth in 2013.
--MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORP
Mitsubishi Motors is recalling 8,263 Outlander crossover
vehicles in the United States and Puerto Rico for three
different issues related to brake lights, fuel gauges and
shifting the vehicles out of part, federal regulators said on