Nikkei set for worst weekly losing run in 20 yrs
TOKYO, June 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei is expected to open lower on Friday, heading for a ninth straight week of losses to match its longest such run in 20 years, after soft U.S. data added to concerns over global growth as Europe struggled with a debt crisis.
Strategists expected the Nikkei to trade between 8,450 and 8,550 after shedding 1.1 percent to 8,542.73 on Thursday to log its worst monthly fall in two years. The index is down 0.4 percent this week.
Nikkei futures in Chicago <0#NIY:> closed at 8,485 on Thursday, down 0.5 percent from the Osaka close of 8,530.
"The weak sentiment will continue today," said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc.
"The Japanese stock market face two negative factors: yen appreciation against the euro and the dollar, and the other is the concern over the U.S. jobs report."
U.S. jobless claims rose for the seventh week in eight, putting investors on edge before Friday's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, while factory activity in the U.S. Midwest slowed considerably this month and economic growth in the first quarter was a bit softer than initially estimated.
Economists in a Reuters poll forecast 150,000 jobs were created in may compared with 115,000 new jobs in April and the unemployment rate is expected to remain at 8.1 percent, a repeat of the April rate.
The broader Topix fell 0.6 percent to 719.49 on Thursday. It is down 0.4 percent this week, and if it were to end the week lower, it would mark its worst weekly losing run since 1975.
The Bank of Japan bought 39.7 billion yen worth of exchange-traded funds on Thursday, buying for a second day in a row to support the market.
The sell-off has taken the Topix's 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio to 10.9, a level not seen since November 2008, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed. > Wall Street closes dire month with a whimper > European fiscal woes sink euro against dollar, yen > Jittery investors chase U.S. bond yields to record lows > Gold post 6 pct loss in May despite daily gain > Oil ends with biggest monthly loss since Dec 2008
STOCKS TO WATCH
--MAZDA MOTOR CORP
Mazda plans to cut 250 jobs, a quarter of its staff in Europe and the United States, in fiscal 2012, as it reorganises sales management in Japan and overseas, the Nikkei reported.
--TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL CO LTD
Taking Takeda Pharmaceutical's diabetes drug Actos for more than two years doubles the risk of bladder cancer, although in absolute terms the risk is still low, researchers said on Thursday. (Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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