TOKYO, March 6 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks may rise on Thursday, picking up from a six-week closing low hit the previous day, with exporters such as Canon Inc (7751.T) likely to gain on easing concerns about a U.S. recession and a stabilising yen.
"The external environment is calm for now," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, a general manager of equity marketing at Daiwa Securities SMBC.
U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as data suggesting the services sector may not be as weak as feared allayed investors' concerns about a recession.
"The U.S. economic outlook will likely encourage investors. Risk aversion hasn't further escalated as you can see from the currency, which is trading around 104 yen against the dollar," Takahashi said.
He added that investors would be looking out for Nippon Steel Corp's (5401.T) earnings forecast for the year due to be announced later in the day for further clues on the health of the domestic economy.
Nikkei futures traded in Chicago 2NKc1 closed at 13,035 on Wednesday, up 65 points from the close in Osaka JNIc1, pointing to a slightly higher opening.
On Wednesday, the benchmark Nikkei average .N225 ended down 0.2 percent at 12,972.06, its lowest close since Jan 23. ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2305 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 .SPX 1333.7 0.52% 6.950 USD/JPY JPY= 103.9 -0.11% -0.110 10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.6832 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD XAU= 988.9 0.08% 0.800 US CRUDE CLc1 104.5 -0.02% -0.020 DOW JONES .DJI 12254.99 0.34% 41.19 ------------------------------------------------------------- > Wall St ends up on services data, commodities [.N] > Dollar slides through new record lows vs euro [USD/] > Inflation fears strike long-maturity bonds [US/] > Gold hits lifetime peak as dollar sinks, oil rises [GOL/] > Oil roars to record near $105 on OPEC, US drawdown [O/R] STOCKS TO WATCH
-- Sony Corp (6758.T)
A senior Sony executive said on Wednesday that electronics sales in the United States have been solid in the first two months of the year, despite concerns about the economy. [ID:nN05608970]
-- Sky Perfect JSAT Corp (9412.T)
The satellite broadcasting platform operator on Wednesday raised its annual dividend forecast to 1,500 yen per share from 1,000 yen in an earlier estimate.
It also said it would cancel 6.8 percent of its own shares on April 30.
--Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp (4188.T).
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp, a unit of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, said on Wednesday it aimed to resume operations at the No. 2 unit of its Kashima ethylene plant around mid- to late March, about three months after it was hit by a fire that claimed four lives.
Initially, the No. 2 unit is expected to produce about 320,000 tonnes of ethylene per year, or about 62 percent of full capacity, the company said. [ID:nT248177]
-- Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T)
Toyota will not need to build a new car factory in Europe for the next few years, as it can rely on some increase in imports from the stagnant Japanese market, a top executive said on Wednesday. [ID:nL05813267]
Separately, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday that Toyota has decided to start marketing Toyota brand cars in South Korea, where it already sells its Lexus luxury cars.
-- Sega Sammy Holdings Inc (6460.T)
Video game publisher Sega has sold 5 million copies of "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games", topping its expectations and giving it confidence that it can grab a bigger slice of the fast-growing market, the president of the firm's U.S. arm said in an interview. [ID:nN05621750]
Sega is a unit of Sega Sammy Holdings.
-- JFE Holdings Inc (5411.T), Hitachi Zosen Corp (7004.T)
JFE Holdings has agreed with Hitachi Zosen to turn their 50-50 joint shipbuilding venture into a JFE unit, a move that will advance JFE's talks with IHI Corp (7013.T) on consolidating their shipbuilding businesses, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.
-- Tokyo Dome Corp (9681.T)
Tokyo Dome's group net profit will likely rise 32 percent to about 10 billion yen in the year to next January, after higher costs related to deferred tax assets hit earnings last year, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday. (Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)