Nikkei likely to hit 2-mth highs, but Intel results to cap gains
TOKYO, July 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average may hit fresh two-month highs on Thursday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signalled he was flexible on when the central bank would begin winding down its stimulus. His comments helped Wall Street make modest gains and weakened the yen. "The Nikkei is expected to rise but it is highly likely that it will struggle to post strong gains as I expect Intel's weak full-year outlook will cap the upside, particularly in related sectors," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, senior market analyst at Monex Inc. Market players said the Nikkei was likely to trade between 14,500 to 14,700 on Thursday. Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 14,670 on Wednesday, up 0.5 percent from the close in Osaka. The world's biggest chipmaker Intel Corp cut its annual revenue forecast and said it is scaling back capital spending as it adjusts to a painful contraction of personal computer sales and economic weakness in China. The Nikkei has fallen 8.3 percent from this year's peak of 15,942.60, but is still up 40.6 percent this year.
> Wall St gains after Bernanke cites flexible policy
> Dollar rebounds from 3-week low after Bernanke remarks
> U.S. yields fall as Bernanke curbs bond-buying worries
> Gold falls, Bernanke sees Fed tapering later this year
> Oil rises as U.S. inventories drop again, gasoline off STOCKS TO WATCH -SOFTBANK CORP SoftBank Corp will team up with a U.S. fuel cell developer to provide the off-grid power source to corporate clients in Japan, the Nikkei business daily reported, citing company sources. -TDK CORP TDK is expected to report a nearly 50 percent year-on-year plunge in operating profit for the three months ended June 30, hurt by poor sales of magnetic heads used in hard-disk drives, the Nikkei newspaper said.