TOKYO, Nov 16 Japan's Nikkei share average is set to extend gains on Friday helped by ongoing expectations of further easing in monetary policy, but gains may be limited as investors remain wary of the U.S. fiscal tussle. The leader of Japan's main opposition party, seen as likely to become premier after a general election next month, called on the central bank to push interest rates to zero or below zero to spur lending, prompting the yen to slide to a six-month low. The remark was the latest in a string of calls by Shinzo Abe, a former prime minister and head of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), pushing the central bank to go to extraordinary lengths to revive growth in an economy slipping into its fourth recession since 2000. "Expectations on how the new (ruling) party will tackle deflation are offsetting persistent concerns on the U.S.'s fiscal cliff for now," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. "Rallies may continue for a little while, probably today, but in the back of the head fears remain for the health of the global economy." Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,800 to 8,950 on Friday, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 8,875, up 0.6 percent from the Osaka close of 8,820. The Nikkei gained 1.9 percent to 8,829.72, hitting a one-week high on Thursday. It was the biggest percentage gain in a month. The broader Topix index climbed 2.1 percent to 737.51. The euro zone relapsed into its second recession since 2009 in the third quarter as its debt problems took their toll, highlighting the region's fragility. Investors will be watching Friday's meeting at the White House between President Barack Obama and Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress over deficit reduction for a sign the two sides are moving closer. On Thursday, trading volume on the Topix hit a two-month high, with 2.2 billion shares changing hands. > Wall St ends flat as wary investors stay defensive > Yen slides on expectations of more easing; euro up 2nd day > Prices edge up on "fiscal cliff," Israel worries > Gold falls to 1-week low on global recession fears > Oil falls as economic fears outweigh Mideast violence STOCKS TO WATCH --Toyota Motor Corp Toyota is recalling 11,153 Scion iQ hatchbacks because the front passenger air bags might not deploy in a crash. --PGM Holdings KK, Accordia Golf Co Japan's No.2 golf course operator PGM Holdings said it will launch a tender offer to win control of bigger rival Accordia Golf, in a deal worth up to 42.4 billion yen ($529 million).
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