TOKYO Japan's Nikkei average is expected to rise on Wednesday, helped by a sharp fall in the yen after central bank Governor Masaaki Shirakawa decided to step down three weeks earlier than expected, possibly bringing forward an anticipated shift to a more aggressive monetary policy.
Currency-sensitive exporters were expected to lead the market higher after the yen hit a 33-month low of 93.79 yen to the dollar in early Asian trade on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put the central bank under relentless pressure to do more to lift the economy and made it clear he wants someone in the job who will be bolder than the outgoing BOJ chief in loosening monetary policy.
Analysts said the Nikkei .N225 was expected to trade between 11,150 and 11,250 after ending down 1.9 percent to 11,046.92 on Tuesday.
Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,265 on Tuesday, up 1.7 percent from the Osaka close of 11,080.
"The market's consensus is that it wants a BOJ governor who shares the government's push to reflate the economy with aggressive easing, and the news raised expectations for an appointment of such governor," said Hiroichi Nishi, assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities.
Better-than-expected euro zone data may also help sentiment. Markit's euro zone composite PMI, seen as a good indication of economic growth, climbed to a 10-month high for January and was slightly above the preliminary reading.
> Wall St bounces back after sell-off; results a boost .N > Yen under relentless pressure, euro rebounds <FRX/> > Treasuries slip as investors flock to riskier assets <US/> > Gold lower as economy improves, platinum metals up <GOL/> > Brent jumps, hits 20-week high on strong data, sentiment <O/R>
STOCKS TO WATCH
--TOYOTA MOTOR CORP (7203.T)
Toyota lifted its annual profit guidance, banking on stronger sales in its key U.S. market and a boost from a weaker yen, which put its Japanese manufacturing in the black for the first time in five years.
--GS YUASA CORP (6674.T)
GS Yuasa, the firm whose products are the focus of U.S. and Japanese investigations into what caused battery problems on Boeing Co's (BA.N) 787 Dreamliner, said it did not expect the issue to hurt either its earnings or its reputation.
(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)