December 7, 2012 / 1:10 AM / 5 years ago

Nikkei steady after 7-month closing high; U.S. jobs data eyed

3 Min Read

* Nikkei flat; Topix adds 0.1 pct
    * Some exporters succumb to profit-taking
    * Sharp extends gains on short-covering

    By Dominic Lau
    TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average held
steady on Friday, ahead of U.S. jobs data, after closing above
the key 9,500-mark for the first time in seven months in the
previous session.
    The Nikkei was flat at 9,548.21 after entering
"overbought" territory on Thursday, with its 14-day relative
strength index at 70.5. Seventy or above is deemed overbought,
which often signals a possible pullback in the near term.
    "There is some data in the U.S. tonight, which means people
don't want to put too much in new positions today," a senior
dealer at a foreign brokerage said.
    "We are seeing small profit-taking today. My flows are to
the sell side ... It certainly seems to me that the market is
still in an uptrend overall on the back of hopes of further yen
weakening." 
    Led by exporters, the Nikkei has rallied 10.2 percent over
the past 3-1/2 weeks as the yen has weakened after Shinzo Abe,
the leader of the main opposition party which is expected to win
a Dec. 16 general election, called for the Bank of Japan to
embark on "unlimited easing" and set an inflation target of 2
percent.
    Half of Japan's manufacturers say their top request for the
winner of the election is a push to weaken the yen, which they
see as critical to reviving the country's economy, a Reuters
polls showed. 
    The benchmark Nikkei is up 12.9 percent this year, in line
with a 12.4 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 but behind a
14 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 
index. 
    Investors are waiting on November nonfarm payrolls data due
at 1330 GMT to see how how much superstorm Sandy disrupted U.S.
economic activity.
    Economists in a Reuters survey forecast 93,000 jobs were
created in the United States last month compared with 171,000
jobs in October, while the unemployment rate is seen at 7.9
percent.
    Japan's broader Topix inched up 0.1 percent to
789.64
    Some exporters headed lower, including Nikon Corp,
Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co, down
between 0.4 and 1 percent, as investors locked in some of the
recent gains.
    But Sharp Corp surged 6.5 percent, extending the
previous session's 9.9 percent jump on short covering after a
Taiwan newspaper quoted Hon Hai Precision Industry's 
chairman as saying that U.S. Qualcomm Inc's tie-up will
not affect Hon Hai's talks with the struggling TV maker to
become its biggest shareholder.
    Short-selling interest in Sharp has fallen lately, although
it still remains high with 91.41 percent of its stock that is
available to be borrowed out on loan as of Dec. 5, down from
93.46 percent on Nov. 30, according to data provider Markit.

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