Nikkei set to trade in range, US fiscal woes remain a focus

Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:17pm GMT

TOKYO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is likely
to tread in a tight range on Monday as upbeat economic data from
the United States and China counters uncertainty over U.S.
fiscal woes that threaten to push the world's largest economy
into recession. 
    The Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,700 and
8,800, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,750 on Friday, down 0.1 percent from the
Osaka close of 8,760.
    U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more
than five years in November as consumers felt more optimistic
about the economy and jobs market, while a jump in wholesale
inventories suggested the economy grew more than initially
estimated last quarter. 
    Adding to the positive news, China's trade surplus ballooned
to its biggest in 45 months in October as export growth darted
to a five-month high above 11 percent, surpassing expectations.
  
    But Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Inc, said the
U.S. 'fiscal cliff' -- about $600 billion worth of spending cuts
and tax increases which take effect in the new year unless
President Barack Obama and the Congress agree to a deal --
remained a concern for the markets.
    "That uncertainty will remain in today's Tokyo market," he
said, adding that a firmer yen would also weigh on the market.
    On Friday, the Nikkei dropped 0.9 percent to 8,757.60, down
for a fifth straight session and hitting a four-week closing
low. The broader Topix lost 0.6 percent to 730.74.
    The benchmark Nikkei was down 3.2 percent last week, its
worst weekly performance in four weeks, but it is still up 3.6
percent this year.
        
> Wall St ends higher, but investors still weary            
> Euro at 2-mth low vs dollar on European growth concerns 
> Treasuries rise as fiscal cliff uncertainty prevails     
> Gold posts weekly gain on U.S. fiscal crisis concern    
> Oil up on U.S. data; gasoline jumps on delivery jitters  
    
    STOCKS TO WATCH
    --YAKULT HONSHA CO LTD 
    The drinks maker said on Friday that it and Danone SA
 have agreed to continue talks on the French food
company possibly taking a bigger stake in Yakult.
 
    --TOYOTA MOTOR CORP 
    Toyota and group companies are to invest about 7 trillion
rupiah ($727 million) in Indonesia over the next five years, in
addition to recently announced plans totalling 6 trillion.
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