Nikkei seen bouncing after Japan escapes G20 criticism
TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Tokyo shares are expected to rise on Monday, with exporters and banks leading the pack after the yen softened on the G20's decision not to single out Japan for undertaking policies that have weakened its currency. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 11,250 to 11,350 on Monday, moving back towards a 33-month high marked earlier this month. Ahead of the conclusion of the G20 meeting, Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 11,315 on Friday, up 1.3 percent from the close in Osaka. Japan's expansive policies escaped direct criticism in a statement written by policymakers from the G20 at the weekend, though it also said the G20 should refrain from competitive devaluations and that monetary policy should be directed only at price stability and growth. "Today we should see the Nikkei rebound, shares that were sold off last week should be easily bought back," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex. "There is not much else to go on today except the currency, so everything depends on where the yen goes." The Nikkei lost 1.2 percent on Friday to close at 11,173.83, but eked out a 0.2 percent weekly gain, after snapping a 12-week winning streak in the previous week. The benchmark has gained about 30 percent since mid-November on yen weakness, when Shinzo Abe, then a candidate for leader of the opposition and now prime minister, began calling for bolder fiscal and monetary policy to pull Japan out of deflation. Before the open of the stock market on Monday, the yen was trading at 93.90 to the dollar just above a 33-month low of 94.465 struck last Monday, when Japanese markets were closed for a national holiday.
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