TOKYO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is likely to extend gains on Thursday after hitting a 15-month closing high, with exporters helped by a weaker yen, while resource-linked shares may rise on higher commodity prices such as oil.
Japan Airlines Corp 9205.T will be in focus after a source said that it could get a $3.3 billion lifeline from a state-backed fund if it files for bankruptcy, while the Nikkei newspaper said it might post a 1.23 trillion yen ($13.3 billion) loss this financial year under a government turnaround plan. [ID:nTOE605013] [[ID:nWNBB5851]
Eyes are on future comments and actions by Naoto Kan after Japan named the fiery deputy prime minister as finance minister on Wednesday, turning to a politician with less hawkish fiscal views than his predecessor.
Kan, who takes over after 77-year-old Hirohisa Fujii stepped down for health reasons, is a critic of the Bank of Japan for being too rosy in its view of the economy and has pressured the central bank into easing its already hyper-loose monetary policy. [ID:nT79774]
"Upward momentum for Japanese stocks is becoming apparent and that will likely continue, due to a recovery in the global economy, the weaker yen and receding worries about equity financing by banks," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity marketing at Nikko Cordial Securities.
"The news about Kan's becoming finance minister will likely be neutral for the market for now as his ability in the new post is still unknown and investors want to see what he is capable of from now on."
Nikkei futures traded in Chicago 2NKc1 closed at 10,835, up 1.2 percent from the Osaka close JNIc1, pointing to a higher start.
The benchmark Nikkei .N225 is likely to move between 10,650 and 10,850, market players said. It edged up 0.5 percent on Wednesday to 10,731.45, its third straight day of gains and a 15-month closing high.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T) said it would raise up to $9.7 billion in a share sale to meet stricter global banking regulations and expand overseas, tapping a modest stock rebound for much-needed fundraising. [ID:nTOE6040B9] ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2313 GMT ------------
INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 .SPX 1137.14 0.05% 0.620 USD/JPY JPY= 92.34 0.03% 0.030 10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.8293 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD XAU= 1137.3 -0.05% -0.600 US CRUDE CLc1 83.2 0.02% 0.020 DOW JONES .DJI 10573.68 0.02% 1.66 ------------------------------------------------------------- > Dow, S&P edge up, Nasdaq off on data, Fed minutes [.N] > Dollar falls vs euro after Fed minutes; yen down [USD/] > Bonds dip on worries over upcoming jobs report [US/] > Gold hits 3-week high on commodities gains, dollar [GOL/] > Oil above $83 as cold snap continues 10-day rally [O/R]
STOCKS TO WATCH
-- Sharp (6753.T)
Japan's Sharp Corp aims to post double-digit TV revenue growth in North America this year to bring sales back to 2008 levels. [ID:nN06163828]
-- Dentsu Inc (4324.T)
Dentsu will buy about 40 percent interest in Chinese ad agency Suntrend Advertising Co, the Nikkei business daily reported.
Under the basic agreement, Dentsu will buy Suntrend shares from existing stockholders for about 5 billion yen ($54.32 million) to become the company's largest stakeholder, the paper said. [ID:nSGE6050J3]
-- Inpex Corp (1605.T), other energy-related stocks
Oil prices rose on Wednesday, in a tenth straight day of gains, as expectations cold weather will boost heating fuel demand outweighed a U.S. inventory report showing a build in crude stocks. [O/R] (Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Edit)