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Tokyo stocks seen flat, oil to boost energy issues

Written by: Staff

TOKYO, Aug 25 (Reuters) Tokyo stocks are expected to move in a tight range on Friday, with more signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economy keeping investors from building positions.

Japanese consumer price data will be released before the opening, and a strong outcome could help shares in companies that depend on domestic demand, analysts said.

Energy stocks are expected to get a boost from higher oil prices.

U.S. crude futures leapt more than a dollar in after-hours electronic trading on Thursday as weather forecasters said a fifth tropical depression had formed in the Atlantic hurricane season.

Sales of new homes in the United States fell more than expected last month, data showed on Thursday, while another U.S. government report said orders for durable goods declined more than expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.06 percent to end at 11,304.46 while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.11 percent to 2,137.11.

''We've started to see more data indicating a slowdown in the U.S. economy, and how U.S. stocks will move is a concern for us,'' said Yutaka Miura, deputy manager of the equity information department at Shinko Securities.

''Investors will likely square their positions ahead of the weekend ... all in all, the market won't be able to gather momentum today,'' he said. Nikkei's September futures closed at 15,965 in Chicago, up 15 points from the Osaka finish, suggesting Friday's market moves will be limited.

The Nikkei is expected to move between 15,900 and 16,200 on Friday, market participants said.

STOCKS TO WATCH --NTT DoCoMo Inc T> NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co., JCB Co. and Toyota Finance Corp. have agreed to develop a common reader terminal for cellphones equipped with credit card functions, and start installing them as early as November, financial daily Nihon Keizai reported on Friday.

Currently, the four firms offer different incompatible reader terminals at stores, making it hard for customers to tell which stores they can use their cellphones to shop at.

The services let customers use their cellphones as credit cards and make purchases by simply holding them close to reader devices.

--Sony Corp. T> Apple Computer Inc. will recall 1.8 million lithium-ion batteries for notebook computers which had power cells made by Sony Corp., after nine devices overheated, causing minor burns to two users, U.S. safety regulators said on Thursday.

Last week, No.1 PC maker Dell Inc. recalled 4.1 million Sony lithium-ion batteries.


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