TOKYO, Feb 21 The Nikkei average is expected to
open lower on Thursday, after touching a 52-month high the
previous day, following a drop in Wall Street stocks and as
investors stay cautious before the appointment of the next Bank
of Japan governor.
Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between
11,350 and 11,500, after ending up 0.8 percent on Wednesday at
11,468.28, its highest closing level since September 2008. On
Wednesday, the Nikkei rose as high as 11,510.52, also the
highest level since September 2008.
Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,415, down
0.2 percent from the close in Osaka of 11,440.
"The Nikkei pierced the psychological resistance level of
11,500, but trading volume has stayed low as investors want to
stay on the sidelines before major events," said Yutaka Miura, a
senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.
Miura said investors were cautiously awaiting the outcome of
a meeting in Washington on Friday at which Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama are expected to discuss a
range of issues including economic and trade matters.
On Wednesday, the broader Topix rose 1.1 percent to
973.70 in thin trade, with 2.82 billion shares changing hands,
compared with last week's average daily volume of 4.03 billion
Miura said the low volume was mainly due to a slowdown in
margin trade by retail investors.
"Investors are also taking a wait-and-see approach before
the government nominates a new BOJ governor next week. Low risk
appetite may also cause the market to fall after seeing that the
U.S. market eased," Miura said.
The government has delayed nominating a governor by a week,
fanning talk of friction between the prime minister and the
finance minister over who should run the central bank and take
aggressive action to revive the economy.
U.S. stocks fell the most in three months Wednesday after
minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting suggested
the central bank may slow or stop buying bonds sooner than
> Wall St slides as Fed minutes spark concern
> Dollar erases gains versus yen, trades little changed
> U.S. bond prices cling to gains after Fed minutes
> Gold dives to lowest since July on Fed, hedge fund talk
> Oil slumps on fund rumor; Saudi output, Iran talks eyed
STOCKS TO WATCH
--Japan Airlines Co
JAL will cut an additional 4 billion yen in costs in the
current financial year through March 31 as it seeks to absorb
flight cancellations stemming from the grounding of the Boeing
787, the Nikkei reported.
--Toyota Motor Corp
Toyota plans to make a record 8.79 million vehicles under
the Toyota and Lexus brands in 2013 and 9.5 million in 2014, a
member of the Toyota labour union federation said on Wednesday.
Sony is expected to showcase a new PlayStation console on
Wednesday in a pre-emptive strike against Microsoft Corp's
bid to make its Xbox the world's leading hub for
Separately, Sony said on Wednesday that it would sell six
percent of shares in its consolidated subsidiary M3 Inc