TOKYO, Jan 24 Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to bounce slightly after three straight days of declines, with Japanese suppliers to the iPhone in focus after Apple announced disappointing sales figures for the smartphone overnight. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 10,400 and 10,600 on Thursday after the benchmark fell 2.1 percent to a three-week closing low of 10,486.99 on Wednesday, as investors took profits on a firmer yen. "We should see a small rebound today because it's fallen so much over the past few days... there will be people wanting to buy on the dip," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. "But Japan's trade data out this morning could affect the exchange rate, and Apple's results were pretty bad." The world's largest technology company shipped 47.8 million iPhones, lower than the roughly 50 million that Wall Street analysts had predicted, while its first quarter revenue rose to $54.5 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $54.73 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Japanese part makers for the iPhone such as Sharp Corp , Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd and Foster Electric Co Ltd, will come under scrutiny after Apple shares fell more than 10 percent in extended trading. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 10,510, up 0.4 percent from the close in Osaka of 10,470. The Nikkei has dropped 4.2 percent from a 32-month high of 10,952.31 hit on Jan. 15, the peak of a steep rally starting in mid-November, when then-incoming leader Shinzo Abe began calling for a weaker yen and aggressive monetary easing. The Bank of Japan responded to pressure from Abe by announcing a 2 percent inflation target at its policy meeting on Tuesday. It also committed to open-ended easing from 2014, a decision that disappointed some investors hoping for more immediate action. Foreign brokers put in net buy orders of 15.4 million shares, their largest net purchase since Jan. 15. > S&P up for sixth day but Apple slip could halt rally > Yen steady versus dollar, but downtrend seen intact > Prices edge up as U.S. debt ceiling extended > Gold down on EU data, better economic outlook > US oil prices plunge after Seaway pipeline cuts rates STOCKS TO WATCH - TOSHIBA CORP Toshiba is to discuss forming a joint venture with General Electric Co for the development and sales of combined cycle gas turbines, the Nikkei business daily said on Thursday, in a bid for further synergy between Toshiba's share of the Asian market and GE's client base in Europe and the United States. -MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES LTD Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will spend up to 60 billion yen ($678 million) on the construction of a facility to build a small fuel-efficient passenger jet, the Nikkei business daily said, with the aim of turning out 10 planes a month by 2020.
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