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
> S&P 500 posts biggest monthly gain since October 2001
> Euro posts best month in over a year; U.S. jobs data
> 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
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
--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.
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.