Nikkei set to rise above 12,000 on Wall Street gains
TOKYO, March 7 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is set to rise and trade above 12,000 on Thursday with sentiment strong after Wall Street ended at another record high, while the prospect of Japan soon adopting aggressively reflationary monetary policy is likely to support risk appetite. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 11,900 to 12,100 on Thursday after ending 2.1 percent higher at 11,932.27. If it trades above 12,000, it will be the first time since September 2008. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 12,085, up 1.3 percent from the close in Osaka of 11,930. "People are focused on the Nikkei futures' high close in Chicago," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities, adding that the market is likely to see strong buying in early trade. "U.S. stocks ended higher and there are hopes for the recovering U.S. economy, but as Japanese stocks have risen sharply in a short period of time, it's not surprising if people become cautious and take some profits later." On Thursday, exporters are likely to gain as the dollar hit a one-week high against the yen to 94.11 after a report showed U.S. private-sector employers added 198,000 jobs in February. It last traded at 93.94. Wall Street mostly edged higher on Wednesday, with the Dow hitting another record, helped by the private payroll survey that bodes well for the monthly jobs report due on Friday. The Nikkei has gained about 15 percent this year, outperforming its global peers as the yen weakened on a determined monetary easing campaign by (now) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Dow has added 9.1 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has gained 8.1 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index has advanced 4.6 percent over the same period.
> Dow ends at another record high, S&P up on job picture
> Euro retreats vs dollar as ECB seen flagging future easing
> Prices fall on private jobs data ahead of debt supply > Gold up, faces headwind from Wall Street rally
> Oil falls to $111/bbl on U.S. inventory build STOCKS TO WATCH
--Sharp Corp Samsung Electronics Co, with a $110 million investment in cash-strapped Sharp, will broaden its supplier base, gain access to low-power thin screen technology and get a foot in the door at one of Apple Inc's key Asian display suppliers.
--All Nippon Airways ANA had three instances of electric distribution panel trouble in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner before it grounded the aircraft in January and had to replace the panel twice, a spokesman said.
--Sony Corp Sony aims to triple sales of its mobile phones in India to 35 billion rupees ($638 million) in the year to March 2014, Kenichiro Hibi, managing director of its India unit, said, at the launch of the company's Xperia Z high-end smartphone.
--Ajinomoto Co said Wednesday it will acquire U.S. firm Althea Technologies Inc for 16 billion yen, with plans to obtain 100 percent of shares in the biopharmaceutical manufacturer next month.
--Olympus Corp Olympus aims to slash interest-bearing debt by around 100 billion yen as of March 31 next year, more than the 70 billion yen in average annual cuts envisioned in a midterm business plan unveiled last June, the Nikkei newspaper said.