Nikkei set to fall on worries over U.S., euro-zone economies

TOKYO Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:07am IST

Men walk past logos at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Men walk past logos at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo February 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is expected to fall for a second day on Friday after Wall Street weakened on worries about the U.S. and euro-zone economies, with investors waiting to see if the United States backs Japan's plans to revive its economy.

Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 11,150 to 11,300, after falling 1.4 percent to 11,309.13 on Thursday. The market hit a 52-month high of 11,510.52 on Wednesday

Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,270, down 0.4 percent from the close in Osaka of 11,320.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Friday, seeking to put a strong alliance on display and looking for support for his economic revival policies of big spending and hyper-easy monetary policy.

"Investors will be watching headlines out of the meeting, and they are highly sensitive to what they would mean to the Japanese economy," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.

Nishi said most investors were also holding fire until the nomination of a new Bank of Japan governor next week.

He added that trading may be subdued amid uncertainty over this weekend's Italian elections, which may call into question the country's economic reform program.

"An impact to the Japanese market should be limited from the Italian election, but if the euro weakens, it would be negative for Japanese exporters," Nishi said.

In Europe, business activity indexes dealt a blow to hopes the euro zone might emerge from recession soon, showing the downturn across the region's businesses unexpectedly grew worse this month.

In the United States, a raft of data, from claims for jobless aid to factory activity and consumer price inflation, pointed to slow economic growth and supported the argument for the Federal Reserve to maintain its monetary stimulus.

> Wall St ends lower on growth worries .N > Euro falls on economic worries; dollar gains broadly <FRX/> > U.S. bond prices rise on data, Fed bond purchase view <US/> > Gold up as data boosts Fed stimulus hope after drop <GOL/> > Oil extends sell-off, Brent hits 3-week low below $114 <O/R>

STOCKS TO WATCH

--Nissan Motor Co (7201.T)

Nissan and Renault SA (RENA.PA) will invest about 30 billion yen ($320 million) in a new car assembly plant in India, the Nikkei said.

--IHI Corp (7013.T)

IHI aims to raise operating profit in its main resources and energy division fourfold to 20 billion yen in fiscal 2015 from the current year estimate by expanding sales in Southeast Asia, the Nikkei said.

(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by John Mair)

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