TOKYO, Feb 15 Japan's Nikkei share average is
expected to fall on Friday, with exporters likely in the firing
line on concerns about a deepening recession in the euro zone
and on a firmer yen.
Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between
11,150 to 11,300 on Friday after Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,225, down 0.9 percent from the close in
Osaka of 11,330.
Economic output in the euro zone fell by 0.6 percent in the
fourth quarter, while Germany contracted by 0.6 percent, marking
its worst performance since the global financial crisis was
raging in 2009. It also marked the currency bloc's first full
year in which no quarter produced growth, extending back to
The euro zone concerns were somewhat offset by data showing
the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits fell more than expected in the latest week, pushing
U.S. share indexes up slightly overnight.
"It's possible that people will blame the weak growth in the
euro zone on the stronger euro. There is a dearth of major
events to go on today, and investors will be playing
wait-and-see before the G20 this weekend," said Masayuki
Doshida, senior analyst at Rakuten Securities.
Analysts say that the yen's 15 percent slide against the
dollar since mid-November could be criticised at the two-day
Group of 20 gathering, as it has sparked concerns of a currency
war due to the risks of competitive devaluations.
Weakness in the yen, driven by the bold fiscal and monetary
policies pursued by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has helped
pull the Nikkei up around 30 percent since November.
But some market players say the one-way bet against the yen
is now losing steam, with the Japanese currency trading against
the dollar at 92.90 yen before the stock market open, below a
33-month low of 94.46 struck on Monday.
The Nikkei is also 1.7 percent down from a 33-month high of
11,498.42 hit on Feb. 6, even though rosy earnings helped the
benchmark gain 0.5 percent on Thursday to 11,307.28.
If the Nikkei falls more than 1.4 percent on Friday it would
mark its second straight week of losses, following 12 weeks of
gains, its longest such run since 1959.
> Wall St ends slightly higher, helped by acquisitions
> Euro falters as weak data boosts easing prospects
> Yields slip from 10-month highs on Europe growth fears
> Gold drops to 6-week low on euro recession fears
> Oil rises with US gasoline supply concerns
STOCKS TO WATCH
Japanese financial services firm Orix Corp 8591.T said it is
in final talks to buy Dutch asset manager Robeco from its owner
Rabobank as a local newspaper reported the companies
are close to reaching a deal that could be as much as 3 billion
euros ($4 billion).
Online shopping site operator Rakuten posted an operating
profit increase of 2.1 percent to 72.26 billion yen ($776
million) for the year ended December 31, thanks to an increase
in transactions on smartphones and tablets, despite concerns
about a slowdown in the internet shopping market.
-YAMAHA MOTOR CO LTD
Yamaha Motors cut its operating profit estimate for the year
ended December 31 to 18.6 billion yen ($199.87 million)from a
previous forecast of 28 billion yen after motorcycle sales in
emerging economies slowed.