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Nikkei seen opening tad higher, eyes on Mixi debut

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, Sep 14 (Reuters) The Nikkei average is expected to open slightly higher on Thursday as a Wall Street rise encourages buying of some blue-chip exporters, while the debut of community site Mixi Inc. could boost sentiment on Internet stocks.

But gains will be likely limited due to a lack of fresh buying incentives at home and as investors brace for important economic data out of the U.S. later in the day including retail sales for August, analysts said.

''The market will start higher but it will be tough to keep the momentum. The market should remain top heavy today,'' said Norihiro Fujito, general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

Nikkei futures traded in Chicago suggested a higher opening.

Chicago's Nikkei December futures closed at 15,820 on Wednesday, up 70 points from the Osaka finish.

Fujito said the Nikkei average would likely move between 15,700 and 15,850 after rising 0.2 percent to 15,750.05 on Wednesday.

Market players are expecting Mixi, Japan's most popular online community site, to trade well above its pre-market price of 1.55 million yen in its debut on the Mothers market for start-up firms.

A strong showing by Mixi could breathe life into the Mothers market, which has halved in value since mid-January when an insider trading scandal emerged involving Web portal Livedoor.

''A key point is whether Mixi will be able to have a positive impact on other start-up shares,'' said Masayoshi Yano, senior manager of investment information at Tokai Tokyo Securities.

STOCKS TO WATCH --Isuzu Motors Ltd.

The truck maker said on Wednesday it has set up a sales company in Germany with Mitsubishi Corp. to enter the German market for pickups and light trucks.

---Softbank Corp Softbank said on Wednesday it has begun offering an Apple Computer Inc. iPod nano packaged with one of its own mobile phones.

-- Sony Corp.

The electronics maker said on Wednesday it will launch a DVD recorder using Blu-ray technology by the end of the year in Japan, fortifying its lineup of high-definition optical disc products.

-- Daiei Inc.

The retailer has decided to reduce its interest-bearing debt by more than 200 billion yen from the current 350 billion yen in an effort to secure refinancing loans, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.

The newspaper said Daiei was considering selling properties and shares in OMC Card Inc. and Maruetsu Inc.

-- Canon Inc.

Canon's group net profit will likely rise 16 percent to 445 billion yen in the year to December, beating its latest estimate by 5 billion yen on strong sales of colour office equipment and digital cameras, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

-- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) NTT, KDDI Corp. and other telecommunications operators are considering requesting a 7 yen monthly surcharge on all customers from January to maintain fixed-line service in remote regions, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported.

REUTERS VJ RN0527

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