TOKYO, Jan 17 Japan's Nikkei share average was expected to rise slightly on Thursday after suffering its biggest drop in eight months on Wednesday, with financials likely given a boost by better-than-expected earnings from U.S. counterparts. The Nikkei was expected to trade between 10,550 to 10,700 points, market players said, after Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 10,635, up 0.5 percent from the close in Osaka of 10,580. "Yesterday's fall was perhaps a bit overdone, so we should see a rebound today," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. The Nikkei tumbled 2.6 percent to 10,600.44 on Wednesday, its biggest fall in eight months, which took it off a 32-month high hit on Tuesday as the yen rebounded after weakening sharply in the past two months. "However, as the softening of the yen has paused and the U.S. market was pretty flat, it will only be mild," Kanayama added U.S. earnings were largely positive, with Goldman Sachs nearly tripling its revenue from dealmaking and lower compensation and JPMorgan Chase's fourth quarter net income jumping 53 percent, contributing to record earnings for 2012. Japanese suppliers of Apple Inc could also see gains after the electronics giant's share price rebounded following three days of losses that left it below $500 for the first time in almost a year. Data showing U.S. consumer prices were flat in December should allow the Federal Reserve room to stay on its ultra-easy monetary policy path. The Bank of Japan, which has come under pressure from the government to adopt aggressive policies to energise the ailing economy and reach a 2 percent inflation rate, held off from buying exchange-traded funds to prop up the market on Wednesday, despite expectations it would step in after the Topix dropped 2 percent. The Nikkei had rallied about 26 percent over the past two months after political pressure on the central bank contributed to a weaker yen, potentially boosting the profits of exporters once repatriated and making their shares more attractive to investors. > S&P 500 ends flat as bank profits temper growth concerns > Yen rises vs dollar; ECB's Nowotny comment boosts euro > U.S. bond prices rise on view on Fed purchases > Platinum up for 7th day on South Africa crisis > Oil rises on Algerian gas field attack, US stock draw STOCKS TO WATCH - SHARP CORP Struggling TV maker Sharp is in the final stages of talks with Lenovo Corp Ltd to form a television operations partnership in China, according to the Nikkei business daily. - JAPAN AIRLINES CO LTD, ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO LTD Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are expected to make an announcement on Thursday about whether they will resume flights with their Dreamliner Boeing passenger jets after grounding the fleet on Wednesday following an emergency landing due to a battery error. - GS YUASA CORP, FUJI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES Boeing's Japanese suppliers may suffer after the airplane maker's shares lost 3.4 percent on safety concerns about its new Dreamliner passenger jets following the latest glitch that led to an emergency landing in Japan.
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