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Nikkei set to weaken slightly on Spain worries

TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is likely to slip on Wednesday amid uncertainty over whether Spain will soon ask for a bailout and concerns about flagging global growth, and as investors await big events later in the week.

Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 8,700 to 8,850, after Nikkei futures in Chicago

closed

at 8,790, up 0.1 percent from the close in Osaka

.

"It's going to be difficult to buy ahead of U.S. jobs data and meetings at the ECB and BOJ this week," said Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.

U.S. payroll data is due at the weekend, while the European Central Bank will meet on Thursday. The Bank of Japan also starts a two-day policy meeting on Thursday.

But Doshida also said the downside would be limited as there was also little incentive to sell. Pre-trade orders from foreign brokers showed net buying of 7.3 million shares.

"With a lack of incentives, I have a feeling we're going to see overreactions to factors that usually don't cause big waves in the market, like Australia's trade data," he said.

Australia is due to release September trade data later in the day, with investors fearing that a slowdown in China will have further crimped the country's exports of raw materials such as metals and coal.

U.S. stocks were mixed on Tuesday after a volatile session in which uncertainty over Spain's bailout prompted investors to take profits as indexes hovered near 5-year highs.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said a request for European aid was not imminent following a report the country could apply for help soon. Germany has signaled that Madrid should hold off on making its request, according to European officials on Monday.

In the U.S., shares most vulnerable to the global economy were the weakest as recent profit warnings and forecast cuts underscore fears of dwindling global demand, while economic data has been worse-than-expected in many regions outside the United States.

On Tuesday, the Nikkei ended down for a third straight day, losing 0.1 percent to 8,786.05.

> Wall St slips on Spain, earnings worries

> Euro holds gains vs U.S. dollar, Spain squashes aid talk

> Prices edge up, jobs data in focus

> Gold ends flat near 2012 high, US payrolls eyed

> Oil falls on economic concerns, supply fears limit drop

STOCKS TO WATCH -TOYOTA MOTOR CO , HONDA MOTOR CO

Toyota reported a 42 percent year-on-year increase in its September passenger U.S. car sales while Honda saw sales jump 31 percent on the year, beating flat results for U.S. automakers General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. as U.S. car sales hit their highest monthly level since March 2008.

- FAST RETAILING

Fast Retailing Co, the operator of Uniqlo clothing stores, should see sales hit 1 trillion yen ($12.8 billion) in the current year ending Aug. 2013, making it the first domestic apparel company to do so, according to the Nikkei business daily.

- MURATA MANUFACTURING CO LTD

Murata President Tsuneo Murata said on Tuesday the company is forecasting stronger demand from smartphone makers in the July to September quarter and that its factories were operating at full capacity despite anti-Japanese sentiment in China, falling prices and growing competition from a South Korean rival.

($1 = 78.0400 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

((sophie.knight@thomsonreuters.com)(+81 3 6441 1833)(Reuters Messaging:)(sophie.knight.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS JAPAN STOCKS/