Nikkei set to rise, supported by weaker yen
TOKYO, June 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to open higher on Monday, tracking gains in Wall Street and as exporters benefit from a softening in the yen on the back of improving funding for European banks.
The Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,750 and 8,900, strategists said, after Nikkei futures in Chicago <0#NIY:> closed at 8,830 on Friday, up 0.6 percent from the Osaka close.
"Trading will likely be rangebound today, though a weaker yen will give the market some support," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity division at SMBC Nikko Securities.
U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday, led by gains in bank shares, as the S&P 500 index bounced back from its second-worst decline of the year.
On Friday, the Nikkei eased 0.3 percent to 8,798.35, but ended up 2.7 percent on the week, its best weekly gain in four months. The broader Topix index slipped 0.4 percent to 750.92.
The European Central Bank is to start accepting a wider range of collateral in its lending operations and assets of a lower quality, easing funding pressures on struggling banks.
The 30-day implied volatility for the Nikkei eased to 17.7 percent on Friday to hit a seven-week low, indicating an easing of investors' concerns over the euro zone crisis and slowing global growth, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.
That compared with the U.S. S&P 500 15.7 percent and Euro STOXX 50's 23 percent, its lowest since April 9. > Wall St claws back after sharp decline, banks lead > Euro gains after ECB loosens lending rules > Treasuries fall ahead of supply, EU summit > Gold posts 3.5 pct weekly drop on deflation fear > Oil near $91, up from 18-mth low; as Gulf storm builds
STOCKS TO WATCH
-- RENESAS ELECTRONICS CORP
Japan's struggling Renesas plans to start capital raising talks with KKR, including issuing about 50 billion yen ($620 million) in new shares to the U.S. investment firm, Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.
-- SONY CORP
Sony will invest 80 billion yen ($1 billion) in its plant in Nagasaki, western Japan, to increase production capacity of CMOS image sensors used in smart phones.
-- ASTELLAS PHARMA INC
Astellas Pharma has received approval for additional use of its Symbicort Turbuhaler drug treatment for adult bronchial asthma in Japan beyond its current twice-daily usage limit.
-- TOYOTA MOTOR CORP
Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) and Toyota Motor Corp are planning to expand cooperation beyond green car technology and diesel engines, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday, without citing any sources.
-- OSAKA GAS
Osaka Gas, Japan's second biggest supplier of city gas, will pay $249 million for a stake of 35 percent in a Texas shale gas and oil project run by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp, aiming to boost investment returns from the potentially lucrative upstream business.
Sumitomo Corp said on Friday it will sell a 50 percent stake in its Jupiter Shop Channel unit to U.S. investment fund Bain Capital Group. (Reporting by Dominic Lau and Lisa Twaronite; Editing by John Mair)
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