TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is expected to open higher on Wednesday, moving further away from a six-month closing low hit on Monday after data showed the U.S. services sector improved in May, helping to offset concerns over Europe.
Although investors remain cautious, with Spain saying it was losing access to credit markets and that Europe should help revive its banks, they might avoid placing too many bearish bets ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's will also speak on the U.S. economy before a congressional committee on Thursday.
The Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,400 and 8,500, strategists said, after Nikkei futures in Chicago <0#NIY:> closed at 8,455 on Tuesday, up 0.5 percent from the Osaka close.
"The markets are awaiting today's ECB meeting and Thursday's Bernanke speech, so trading will likely be rangebound," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer of Tachibana Securities.
But he added that the downside could be more vulnerable than the upside as June options and futures contracts will be settled on Friday.
"Even after plunging on Monday in line with other markets on the 'U.S. payrolls shock', support at 8,200 held, so some investors might be ready to call a bottom and take advantage of low valuations and start buying again. But until this happens, and volume picks up, there probably won't be big moves," Hirano said.
The Nikkei gained 1 percent to 8,382.00 on Tuesday, while the broader Topix index rose 1.8 percent, climbing from the previous session's hefty losses to a more than 28-year low.
The benchmark Nikkei has fallen 18.3 percent since hitting a one-year peak on March 27, and is down 0.9 percent this year on concerns over a deepening euro zone debt crisis and a slowing global growth. > Wall Street rebounds but mood still sour > Euro falls as Spain fears rise, G7 take no action > Long-dated Treasuries prices dip on profit-taking > Gold eases, focus shifting to key economic events > Brent little changed, U.S. crude posts gain
STOCKS TO WATCH
--NOMURA HOLDINGS INC
Nomura, under investigation for insider trading, is among four Japanese and five foreign brokerages shortlisted to underwrite a government sale of shares in Japan Tobacco , which could raise around $6 billion, the Finance Ministry said.
--NINTENDO CO LTD
Nintendo will launch a console with a dedicated "Super Mario" game title for the first time in 16 years, as the struggling Japanese company hopes the new Wii U will score the rave reviews that helped make its predecessor the world's biggest gaming hit.
--NISSAN MOTOR CO
Nissan, Japan's No.2 automaker, expects auto demand in China's inland provinces to help offset anaemic sales on the Chinese coast.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai will earn less this year despite his elevation in April from deputy to the top post, after the once stellar consumer electronics company posted a record loss and its fourth straight annual deficit. (Reporting by Dominic Lau and Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)