Tokyo stocks seen opening lower, but bottom solid

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TOKYO, Oct 4 (Reuters) Japan's Nikkei stock average is expected to open lower on Thursday, following a fall in Wall Street, but the downside is seen limited as exporters like Sony Corp are likely to gain on the softer yen.

One of the stocks likely to grab the market's attention is Seven&I Holdings Co.

The Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday Japan's largest retailer is expected to report a 2 percent rise in its first-half operating profit, falling short of its own forecast of a 4 percent gain due to an increase in IT costs.

Seven&I is scheduled to announce its first-half results next week. Rival Aeon Co Ltd will announce its first-half earnings after the close of trade.

''The day's session is likely to be a range-bound, showing a solid bottom,'' said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equity marketing at Nikko Cordial Securities.

''While US stocks fell and investors are getting nervous about the market's fast upward move, the dollar is traded at the upper end of 116 yen and there is a strong expectation for upward forecast revisions by companies,'' he said.

Market participants said the benchmark Nikkei average will likely move between 17,000 and 17,250 on Thursday.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago finished Wednesday at 17,135, 65 down from the Osaka close, pointing to a lower open.

The Nikkei finished Wednesday up 0.9 per cent at 17,199.89, the highest level in nine weeks.

US stocks dropped on Wednesday after a broker's weak outlook for chip makers drove a sell-off of technology shares and as investors worried monthly jobs data could show deterioration in the labour market.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.6 per cent. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index was down 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.7 per cent.

The dollar was traded around at 116.65 yen after rising 0.9 per cent to 116.71 yen in late afternoon New York.

STOCKS TO WATCH -- Toyota Motor Corp The Toyota Motor Workers' Union plans to start accepting contract actory workers at Toyota Motor from next summer, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

Toyota is expected to support the union's proposal as it believes allowing such contract workers into the union would help boost their morale and encourage their transition to full-time workers, the newspaper said.

-- NGK Insulators and Tokyo Electric Power NGK Insulators and Tokyo Electric received orders for their power storage systems from a major U.S. power company, American Electric Power, and France's state-owned utility, Electricite de France, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The two companies have worked together to develop sodium-sulphur batteries powerful enough to be used at power plants, the newspaper said.

-- Nippon Express Co Nippon Express and Japan Post Holdings Co will form an alliance in domestic and international parcel delivery and in the future may take stakes in each other, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The two companies hope to secure a combined 30 per cent share of the door-to-door parcel delivery market, which would put them right behind industry leader Yamato Holdings Co and No. 2 player Sagawa Express Co, the newspaper said.

-- Hitachi Ltd Hitachi Displays Ltd, a display-making unit of Hitachi, plans to spend 8.6 billion yen to upgrade a production line, lifting output capacity for mobile phone liquid crystal display panels by 30 per cent, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

REUTERS SBA AS0600

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