TOKYO, Jan 4 Japan's Nikkei share average is
expected to rise on its first trading day of 2013 and could test
a nearly two-year high as a deal in Washington to avert the
"fiscal cliff" buoys sentiment and a weaker yen is likely to
Market participants said the Nikkei was likely to trade
between 10,600 and 10,800 on Friday. The Nikkei closed up 0.7
percent at 10,395.18 on Dec. 28, the last trading day of 2012,
after touching its highest level since March 10, 2011, in
If the index touches the 10,800-mark, it will be the first
time since Feb. 21, 2011.
Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 10,765 on
Thursday, up 335 points from the Osaka close of 10,430
on the final trading day of 2012.
"It's a relief that the U.S. fiscal cliff was averted," said
Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities, adding
that the market would likely cheer positive developments that
happened while Japanese markets were closed for the New Year
"Exporters should benefit from a weaker yen on expectations
that they will have strong forecasts for the next fiscal year."
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed "fiscal cliff"
legislation that raises tax rates for top earners and extends
tax cuts for the middle class.
On Friday morning, the yen traded at 87.56 yen to the
dollar, its weakest since July 2010. A weaker yen inflates
exporters' overseas earnings when repatriated.
Japanese shares gained 23 percent last year, their best
yearly gain since 2005, after rising expectations of aggressive
monetary stimulus under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weakened
the yen and bolstered exporters.
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STOCKS TO WATCH
--Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd
The Subaru maker is recalling as many as 634,000 vehicles in
the United States for potential lighting problems that could
lead to smoke or fire, according to U.S. safety regulators.
The recall potentially affects some Forester vehicles from
model years 2009 through 2012, all Legacy and Outback vehicles
from model years 2010 and 2011, and some Tribeca vehicles from
model years 2006 through 2012, according to documents filed with
the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
--Mizuho Financial Group
Mizuho agreed to pay $175,000 to settle civil charges by
U.S. futures regulators in connection with allegations that the
bank failed to hold enough funds in its secured accounts to
protect clients, the regulators said.