Nikkei edges higher; investors cautious ahead of SQ, Fed meeting

lunes 9 de marzo de 2015 22:33 GYT
 

* Nikkei options and futures' settlement on Friday in focus
    * Weaker yen lifts sentiment

    By Ayai Tomisawa
    TOKYO, March 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average
edged higher on Tuesday morning after U.S. shares rebounded on
M&A activity and the yen weakened further against the dollar.
    The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 18,860.25 in
mid-morning trade, moving closer to a 15-year high of 18,979.64
hit last Friday.
    Investors have, however, been cautious about chasing the
market higher after a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday raised
expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest
rates as early as this summer.
    Any move to exclude "patient" from the Fed's statement after
its March 17-18 policy meeting would be seen as paving the way
for an early rate hike, market observers said.
    "Investors may not make big bets until the next FOMC," said
Hiroyuki Nakai, chief strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.
    But he also said this Friday's settlement price for Nikkei
futures and options contracts expiring in March could also lift
the market.
    The closely watched settlement price, known in Japan as the
special quotation, or "SQ", is calculated from the opening
prices of the 225 shares in the Nikkei average on the second
Friday of the month.
    "If the settlement price comes in above 19,000, investors
may chase the market higher," Nakai said. "The underlying mood
is cautious, but the market can be volatile because of the SQ."
    The dollar rose as high as 121.625 yen after bouncing
from an overnight low of 120.615. A move above 121.86 would take
the greenback to its highest since July 2007.
    That helped lift exporters, with Honda Motor Co 
gaining 1.4 percent and Toyota Motor Corp rising 0.4
percent.
    But electronics retailer Laox Co tumbled as much as
20 percent to 251 yen, its lowest since Jan. 29 after it said it
will raise up to about 31 billion yen ($255 million) by issuing
new shares.
    The broader Topix added 0.4 percent to 1,538.38 and
the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.4 percent to
13,981.25.


($1 = 121.7000 yen)

 (Editing by Edwina Gibbs)