TOKYO, Feb 1 Japan's Nikkei share average is set to edge up on Friday and is seen posting its 12th straight week of gains, the longest streak in 54 years, as ongoing optimism on the weak yen is likely to lift exporters, while expectations of a recovery in the U.S. economy supports sentiment. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 11,050 to 11,250 on Friday after ending up 0.2 percent at a new 33-month high of 11,138.66 on Thursday. The index, which has gained 1.9 percent this week, is poised to post its 12th straight week of gains, the longest-ever weekly winning run since 1959. "We are expecting a positive note in the morning," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities. "But the market could trim gains later as investors may take profits from the recent gains before the weekend, but overall, sentiment is positive." Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,135, up from the close in Osaka of 11,110. Japanese companies have reported lacklustre earnings for the Oct-Dec period: Of the 54 Nikkei companies that have announced quarterly results so far, nearly two-thirds have missed market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compared with 56 percent in the previous three months. But market observers said that investor focus is on forecasts for the full year through March as well as the year ending March 2014 - if companies have strong outlook for the foreseeable future, the market will likely dismiss poor results. "Unless companies reporting poor quarterly results disappoint investors with even more gloomy estimates, bad news should be seen a past event," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. "Investors' risk appetite is being supported by underlining hope for Abenomics and expectations for the recovering global economy. U.S. January employment figures are due at 1330 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters expect non-farm payrolls to show employers added 160,000 jobs in the month versus 155,000 in December. The unemployment rate is likely to hold steady at 7.8 percent. > S&P 500 posts biggest monthly gain since October 2001 > Euro posts best month in over a year; U.S. jobs data eyed > Prices steady in mixed U.S. data, payrolls awaited > Gold down almost 1 percent after failing to rally > Brent crude rises, premium widens over US crude STOCKS TO WATCH --Honda Motor Co Ltd Honda is betting on a weaker yen and a rollout of new models in the United States to boost car sales after unexpectedly trimming its annual net profit forecast on poorer-than-expected demand in China and Europe. --All Nippon Airways Co ANA, the launch airline for Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner jet that has been grounded with undiagnosed battery problems, said it lost more than $15 million in revenue from having to cancel Dreamliner flights this month. --Nomura Holdings Inc Japan's largest investment bank Nomura Holdings posted a 12.8 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by the recent rally in Japanese shares, cost-cutting, and a large one-off investment gain. --Softbank Corp Japan's third largest mobile carrier, Softbank, posted a 23.7 percent increase in operating profit in the third quarter from a year earlier thanks to strong subscriptions from iPhone users. --Mizuho Financial Group Inc Mizuho, Japan's second-largest lender by assets, reported a 45 percent increase in net profit for the nine months ended December, helped by a year-end rally in Japanese equities. --Toshiba Corp Japan's Toshiba posted a rise in quarterly operating profit on Thursday, but missed forecasts as a weak global economy and a drop in sales of televisions and personal computers offset buoyant orders for new thermal power stations.
Our top photos from the past week.