TOKYO, Nov 14 Japan's Nikkei share average is set to open lower on Wednesday as market participants ponder whether a potential U.S. fiscal crisis and worry about delays in aid for debt-laden Greece will sour investor sentiment. "Since volume is expected to stay low, the cash market is likely to be swayed by futures trading," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. "Although a technical rebound is possible after the Japanese market has dropped a lot, with such lingering concerns on the U.S. and Europe, investors are staying risk averse." Concerns about the looming "fiscal cliff" may keep trading subdued as lawmakers returned to Washington after the Nov. 6 election, when President Barack Obama won a second term and the Democratic Party added to its majority in the U.S. Senate and picked up seats in the House of Representatives. The Nikkei slipped 0.2 percent to 8,661.05 points, hitting a four-week closing low for the third day in a row on Tuesday. It fell for a seventh straight session, its longest losing streak in seven months. The broader Topix index was flat at 722.56. The market is grappling with how a divided U.S. Congress will deal with the series of mandated tax hikes and spending cuts that start to take effect next year and could take the world's largest economy back into recession. Serious negotiations are still weeks away, analysts said. A euro-zone finance ministers' meeting on Monday gave Greece two more years to make cuts, but held off disbursing more aid as the euro zone and IMF clashed over a longer-term target date to shrink the country's debt. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,600 to 8,750 on Wednesday. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,655, down from the close in Osaka of 8,670. The benchmark is still up 2.4 percent so far this year but lags behind a 9.3 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 10.6 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600. > Microsoft leads Wall St lower, but retailers gain > Euro slips vs yen, dollar on Greece, Spain concerns > Bonds rise on concern about U.S., Europe economies > Palladium, platinum rally after report, gold flat > Brent crude falls on demand concerns, fragile economies STOCKS TO WATCH -- Olympus Corp Olympus shareholders have filed suit against the company in a Tokyo court seeking 19.1 billion yen ($240.5 million) in compensation over an accounting fraud that was one of corporate Japan's biggest scandals.
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