Nikkei seen holding in range ahead of U.S. election

TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average is likely to be contained in a narrow range on Tuesday as investors avoid taking big positions ahead of the U.S. election outcome, with a weak yen offering support to exporters.

The Nikkei was expected to trade between 8,950 and 9,050, strategists said, while Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 9,015 on Monday, down about 0.1 percent from the Osaka close. ``The main focus is the U.S. election, and uncertainty ahead of that is going to keep markets, including Japanese stocks, in a range,'' said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities. ``Everyone is talking about the likely impact of the outcome, but except for a short-term immediate reaction, no matter who wins, it's going to take him a long time to put his policies in place. The trends will not change suddenly,'' Hirano said. ``For now, we are also watching forex, and the yen levels, as well as the strength of the U.S. economy.'' The yen was quoted at 80.26 to the dollar on Tuesday, not too far from a six-month low of 80.68 hit on Friday. On Monday, the Nikkei slipped 0.5 percent to 9,007.44 but held above its five-day moving average at 8,955.16, while the broader Topix index lost 0.6 percent to 747.95. Investor demand for Nikkei call options outpaced demand for put options on Monday. Societe Generale said the most popular call on the Nikkei with a November maturity had a strike price at 9,250, 2.7 percent higher than Monday's close. The next most-traded was a put option at 8,750 , followed by another put at 9,000 and a call at 9,500. The benchmark Nikkei is up 6.5 percent this year, trailing a 12.7 percent rise in the U.S. S&P 500 and a 11.7 percent gain in the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index.

> Wall St rises in thin trade day before U.S. election

> Greek austerity push squeezes euro; U.S. election eyed

> Treasuries up before U.S. vote; Greece worries mount

> Gold rises on short-covering, U.S. election eyed

> Brent crude ends higher

STOCKS TO WATCH --TOYOTA MOTOR CORP Toyota raised its full-year net profit forecast to $9.7 billion even as it put the cost of recent anti-Japanese protests and a slowing economy in China, the world's biggest autos market, at lost sales of 200,000 cars. --FAST RETAILING CO LTD The operator of casual fashion chain Uniqlo lifted its annual dividend forecast to 280 yen per share from a previous forecast of 260 yen.