TOKYO, May 13 Japan's Nikkei share average is
set to rise to a new 5-1/2 year high on Monday after some
encouraging earnings helped lift U.S. stocks to record highs and
as the weakening yen further bolsters exporters.
Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between
14,600 to 14,800 on Monday after rising 2.9 percent to 14,607.54
on Friday, its highest closing level since early January 2008.
Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,675, up 0.7
percent from the close in Osaka.
Analysts said the market should stay upbeat after Japan
avoided criticism about recent weakness in the yen at a meeting
of Group of Seven finance officials on Saturday.
"If international peers criticize the yen's weakness,
investors who are on the nervous side could stop chasing the
market higher. Now, such concerns are receding," said Kenichi
Hirano, a strategist at Tachibana Securities.
The yen last traded below 102 against the dollar.
> Wall Street ends up, posts third week of gains
> Yen slides to 4-1/2-year low vs buoyant dollar
> Bond prices fall as dollar jumps versus yen
> Gold falls 1.5 pct on dollar gain, posts weekly drop
> Oil pares losses on weakening dollar, refinery boost
STOCKS TO WATCH
Panasonic forecast its operating profit will rise 55 percent
in the year to March 31 as it steps back from struggling
operations in TVs and other consumer gadgets in favour of
selling machinery, components and electronic equipment to other
--Nissan Motor Co
Nissan projected a 22.6 percent rise in net income for its
current business year as the weakening yen allows Japanese
carmakers to cash in overseas profits at more favourable rates.
Softbank is playing it rough in its attempt to keep Dish
Network Corp from breaking up its $20.1 billion deal to
take control of Sprint Nextel Corp.
Sharp, Japan's leading maker of liquid crystal displays,
will rely on expanding supplies of small panels to Samsung
Electronics Co while still shipping screens to rival
Apple Inc, in a bid to raise factory output levels and
remain viable, three sources said.