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Tokyo stocks may rise; steady earners to lead

By Staff
|

TOKYO, Feb 27 (Reuters) Tokyo stocks are seen rising on Monday, with investors buying shares in companies with bright earnings outlooks such as Nippon Steel Corp., which a local newspaper reported would post record earnings this fiscal year.

But the buying will likely be curbed as investors remain on watch for any hint of changes to Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy ahead of a Bank of Japan policy-setting meeting early next month.

Japan's core consumer price index (CPI) rose on year for the second consecutive month in December, fuelling expectations that the BOJ will soon end its five-year-old ''quantitative easing'' policy.

''There are things to watch later this week. Monthly CPI data is due on Friday and industrial output data on Wednesday,'' said Yutaka Miura, deputy manager of Shinko Securities' equity information department.

''The market will likely stay around 16,000 before then,'' he said.

Traders expect the Nikkei share average to move between 16,000 and 16,200 on Monday.

The index rose 0.04 percent to 16,101.91 on Friday.

In Chicago, Nikkei futures expiring in March closed at 16,160, a rise of 70 points from the Osaka finish.

The Nihon Keizai business daily reported at the weekend that Nippon Steel will likely report a 40-percent jump in group pretax profit to about 520 billion yen (.45 billion) for the year ending March 31 on growing demand for steel products.

U.S. blue-chip Dow Jones stocks ended slightly lower on Friday as a bomb attack at a large Saudi Arabian oil facility drove oil prices up more than TOKYO, Feb 27 (Reuters) Tokyo stocks are seen rising on Monday, with investors buying shares in companies with bright earnings outlooks such as Nippon Steel Corp., which a local newspaper reported would post record earnings this fiscal year.

But the buying will likely be curbed as investors remain on watch for any hint of changes to Japan's ultra-loose monetary policy ahead of a Bank of Japan policy-setting meeting early next month.

Japan's core consumer price index (CPI) rose on year for the second consecutive month in December, fuelling expectations that the BOJ will soon end its five-year-old ''quantitative easing'' policy.

''There are things to watch later this week. Monthly CPI data is due on Friday and industrial output data on Wednesday,'' said Yutaka Miura, deputy manager of Shinko Securities' equity information department.

''The market will likely stay around 16,000 before then,'' he said.

Traders expect the Nikkei share average to move between 16,000 and 16,200 on Monday.

The index rose 0.04 percent to 16,101.91 on Friday.

In Chicago, Nikkei futures expiring in March closed at 16,160, a rise of 70 points from the Osaka finish.

The Nihon Keizai business daily reported at the weekend that Nippon Steel will likely report a 40-percent jump in group pretax profit to about 520 billion yen ($4.45 billion) for the year ending March 31 on growing demand for steel products.

U.S. blue-chip Dow Jones stocks ended slightly lower on Friday as a bomb attack at a large Saudi Arabian oil facility drove oil prices up more than $2 barrel.

The Tokyo stock exchange has shortened overall afternoon trading by 30 minutes to avoid any computer system trouble. Trade will begin at 1 p.m. (0400 GMT) instead of the usual 12:30 p.m.

and will finish at 3 p.m.

STOCKS TO WATCH -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group The two banks plan to seek U.S. approval to set up financial holding firms, in a bid to expand overseas business, a local daily said on Saturday. They may submit their applications in the United States as early as in the 2006/07 business year that starts in April, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said without quoting any sources.

-- Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan said on Friday it would recall 475,400 units of its Primera and X-Trail models globally to fix a faulty fuel filler tube. No accidents have been reported due to the defect, Nissan said.

-- Don Quijote Co.

Japanese discount retailer gave up its attempt to take control of delicatessen operator Origin Toshu Co. on Friday, ending a rare takeover battle in Japan with bigger retailer Aeon Co.

Reuters SK VP0615 barrel.

The Tokyo stock exchange has shortened overall afternoon trading by 30 minutes to avoid any computer system trouble. Trade will begin at 1 p.m. (0400 GMT) instead of the usual 12:30 p.m.

and will finish at 3 p.m.

STOCKS TO WATCH -- Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group The two banks plan to seek U.S. approval to set up financial holding firms, in a bid to expand overseas business, a local daily said on Saturday. They may submit their applications in the United States as early as in the 2006/07 business year that starts in April, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said without quoting any sources.

-- Nissan Motor Co.

Nissan said on Friday it would recall 475,400 units of its Primera and X-Trail models globally to fix a faulty fuel filler tube. No accidents have been reported due to the defect, Nissan said.

-- Don Quijote Co.

Japanese discount retailer gave up its attempt to take control of delicatessen operator Origin Toshu Co. on Friday, ending a rare takeover battle in Japan with bigger retailer Aeon Co.

Reuters SK VP0615

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