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Asia Top News and Analysis Japan

  • TOKYO, Oct 5- Japan's Nikkei stock average rose in early trade on Friday, tracking gains on Wall Street, ahead of the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting and key U.S. jobs data. The Nikkei advanced 0.4 percent to 8,856.10, while the broader Topix. index added 0.2 percent to 737.07.

  • TOKYO, Oct 5- Toyota Motor Corp's sales in China last month halved from levels in August as anti-Japanese sentiment took its toll, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday, citing the Japanese automaker. Toyota sold about 75,300 cars in China in August. A Toyota spokeswoman in Tokyo declined immediate comment on the report.

  • *BOJ seen under pressure to ease at Oct. 30 meeting. TOKYO, Oct 5- The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged on Friday despite growing signs that sagging exports to China and Europe may tip the economy into recession, preferring to hold fire for now as it reviews the effect of stimulus announced last month.

  • TOKYO, Oct 5- Japan's Nikkei stock average is likely to tread in range on Friday, as investors wait for the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting due during trading hours, as well as key U.S. jobs data later in the day. closed at 8,845 on Thursday, up 0.1 percent from the Osaka.

  • SYDNEY, Oct 5- Australian shares are set to rise after a fourth day of gains on Wall Street, as investors await the release of the closely watched U.S. payrolls report later on Friday.

  • CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.-- A private company is headed back to the International Space Station. Forecasters said Thursday there's a 60 percent chance of favorable conditions for the 8:35 p.m. launch from Cape Canaveral. This is the California company's first official launch under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- British buyout mogul Guy Hands heard a panel of U.S. judges pick away at his lawyer's arguments in an appeal of the fraud case he lost to Citibank over his takeover of music group EMI.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- Britain's FTSE 100 share index stalled near the top of its recent range on Thursday, supported by prospects of global central bank stimulus but struggling to break fresh ground ahead of a potentially gloomy earnings season.

  • LONDON, Oct 4- European shares closed fractionally lower on Thursday as a gloomy economic outlook dented sentiment, outweighing a boost to risk appetite from global monetary stimulus. became the latest victim of the European downturn on announcing it would have to cut costs and sell a business due to a decline in demand from southern Europe and Britain.

  • LONDON-- Financial markets remained subdued Thursday as investors were reluctant to stake out positions ahead of key U.S. jobs data. The monthly U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due Friday, is the week's main event in the markets following Thursday's monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stocks were set to rise at the open on Thursday after labor market data came in within expectations and following encouraging comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on tools to tackle the region's debt crisis.

  • LOS ANGELES-- Eight months ago Southern California had a nuclear power plant that could generate enough electricity for 1.4 million homes. Southern California Edison sketched out a proposal Thursday under which its long-shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant might be stuck, perhaps permanently, in a sort of middle gear.

  • Dow futures are up 59 points to 13,485. The broader S&P 500 futures are up 8 points to 1,452.40. Investors are also awaiting news from the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank. Stocks across Europe were marginally higher ahead of ECB head Mario Draghi's news conference, which is being held in Slovenia, one of the euro's 17 countries.

  • BERLIN-- Daimler AG says its main Mercedes-Benz brand saw global sales grow 2 percent in year-on-year terms in September as growth in the U.S. and Asia offset a decline in western Europe. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region were up 7.8 percent to 30,992, led by growth of 18 percent in Japan and 10 percent in China.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, ahead of a central bank decision in Europe and the release of U.S. data on the labor and manufacturing sectors.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 4- U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, ahead of a central bank decision in Europe and the release of U.S. data on the labor and manufacturing sectors. *The U.S. Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Sept. 29 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

  • BRUSSELS-- EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Thursday the cost of necessary improvements at the 145 nuclear reactors in the European Union could be as high as 25 billion over the coming years.

  • *FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct, near one-week highs. LONDON, Oct 4- Britain's FTSE 100 hovered around one-week highs on Thursday, in thin, jittery trade, with investors unwilling to put on big bets ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the session and a key U.S. job reports on Friday. By 1023 GMT, the UK's FTSE 100.

  • VIENNA, Oct 4- The fabled Viennese fondness for fine funerals and "a schoene Leich"- a beautiful corpse- is about to get a modern twist. The first QR codes will start appearing on graves in Austria within weeks, said Joerg Bauer, project leader for Austrian bereavement company Aspetos, who has been working on the QR project for five years.

  • *Island row taking toll on sales for Japan automakers. Violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products broke out across China in mid-September after Japan bought two of the East China Sea islands, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese, from their private owners.