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Nikkei to rebound from 2-mth low, still set for 4th week of loss

TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average is likely to rebound on Friday from its lowest close in more than two months, but concerns over the quarterly earnings season means the benchmark is still on track for a fourth straight week of losses.

Mobile operator Softbank Corp will be in focus as it looks to buy roughly 70 percent of U.S. Sprint Nextel Corp

in a bold move that would make it a major player in the U.S. mobile market.

The Nikkei

was likely to trade between 8,500 and 8,650, after closing at 8,546.78 on Thursday, strategists said. Nikkei futures in Chicago

closed at 8,580 on Thursday, up 0.4 percent from the Osaka

close of 8,550.

"Later today in the U.S., J.P. Morgan

will release its earnings. Then we'll have more earnings next week, and the expectations are not high. If results are disappointing, stocks will sell off, so that makes it difficult to buy now," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.

Hirano said trading was likely to be active with the expiry of October Nikkei options.

On Thursday, the Nikkei fell 0.6 percent to its lowest close in more than two months, while the broader Topix

index

eased 0.4 percent to 713.95.

The benchmark Nikkei is down 3.6 percent so far this week, and has fallen 8 percent since hitting a four-month high on Sept. 19, but it is still up 1.1 percent this year.

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STOCKS TO WATCH --SOFTBANK CORP

Softbank is looking to buy roughly 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp

in a bold move that would make it a major player in the U.S. mobile market. --FAST RETAILING CO LTD

Fast Retailing forecast a 13.5 percent rise in operating profit for this financial year amid expectations growth from overseas outlets of its Uniqlo basic apparel and Japan cut-price clothing g.u. chains will drive profits.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau and Lisa Twaronite; Editing by John Mair)

((dominic.lau@thomsonreuters.com)(+81 3 6441 1917)(Reuters Messaging:)(dominic.lau.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS JAPAN STOCKS/