April 5, 2012 / 11:19 PM / 5 years ago

Nikkei seen in subdued range ahead of US jobs data

TOKYO, April 6 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks are expected to
trade in a tight range on Friday ahead of a key U.S. jobs
report, although the Nikkei average is heading for its worst
weekly loss since November on waning hopes of further U.S.
stimulus and fresh concerns over the euro zone.	
    The Nikkei is likely to trade between 9,650 and
9,800, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,715 on Thursday, down 75 points or 0.8
percent from the Osaka close of 9,790.	
    "The market is going to be steady because we are heading
towards the weekend and ahead of the U.S. jobs data ... I don't
think people will be too active," said Takashi Hiroki, chief
strategist at Monex Inc.	
    Economists polled by Reuters expect the nonfarm payrolls
report due at 1230 GMT to show the U.S. economy added 203,000
jobs in March. That would represent a fourth straight month of
solid job creation, marking the longest stretch of monthly
employment gains topping 200,000 since 1999.	
    On Thursday, the benchmark Nikkei dropped 0.5 percent to a
four-week closing low at 9,767.61, while the broader Topix
 eased 0.3 percent to 832.57.	
    The Nikkei is still up more than 15 percent this year,
buoyed by a run of strong U.S. economic data and liquidity
boosting programmes by central banks.	
    Nomura estimated that total shareholder returns, including
dividends and share buybacks, at all listed Japanese companies
rose to 8.3 trillion yen ($100.76 billion) in the last fiscal
year from 7.6 trillion the year before, despite the impact of
the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.	
    It forecast total shareholder returns would rise to 9
trillion yen in this fiscal year, "as companies still have
substantial cash holdings and in our opinion are unlikely to
make any major changes to the proactive stance towards
shareholder returns that they displayed in FY11." 	
	
> S&P 500 posts worst week in 2012 as bulls waver           	
> Euro hits multiweek lows, breaks 1.20 francs floor      	
> Treasuries climbs as Europe fear spurs safety bid        	
> Gold rises in thin trade but set for weekly loss        	
> Oil rises as U.S. data, supply fears fuel rebound        	
    	
    STOCKS TO WATCH	
    --SEVEN & I HOLDINGS CO LTD 	
    Japan's top general retailer Seven & I on Thursday forecast
a second straight year of record profit as the company targets a
broader demographic to drive domestic convenience-store sales
and seeks acquisitions in the United States. 	
    --ASTELLAS PHARMA INC 	
    U.S. advisers backed a bladder drug from Astellas Pharma on
Thursday, boosting the company's hopes of gaining approval for a
second treatment for overactive bladder. 	
    --TOSHIBA CORP 	
    Toshiba has approached SK hynix of South Korea
about bidding jointly for Japanese memory chip maker Elpida
Memory, an industry source said on Thursday, after its solo bid
was reportedly less than that of U.S. firm Micron Technology
. 	
    --INSURERS	
    Japanese insurers may have to pay more than twice as much to
reinsure themselves against earthquake claims as they did before
last year's Tohoku quake, reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter said
on Thursday. 	
    --TOYOTA MOTOR CORP 	
    Toyota will shift the development of models to the markets
they are sold in, beginning with the United States, the Nikkei
reported.

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