Nikkei set to slide on yen, Wall Street

TOKYO (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average is likely to drop on Friday, with exporters seen hurt by a stronger yen and after escalating sovereign debt problems in Europe and an unexpected rise in jobless claims sent Wall Street sharply lower.

Toyota Motor Corp will be in focus after a report that it plans to recall an estimated 270,000 units of its Prius hybrid in the United States and Japan to fix a brake problem.

In more recall woes for the company, U.S. safety regulators opened a formal probe on Thursday into problems with the Prius brakes, sending U.S.-listed shares of Toyota lower by more than 2 percent.

Toyota said on Friday it had made no decision on whether to recall the Prius.

“The Nikkei is likely to test the 10,000 level as the yen is strengthening against both the euro and the dollar and following a slide in U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ),” said Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets.

“It may also be hard for buying on dips to emerge due to investor caution before U.S. jobs data.”

Nikkei futures in Chicago closed at 10,065, down 2.8 percent from the Osaka close, pointing to a lower start.

The benchmark Nikkei is likely to move between 9,900 and 10,150 on Friday, market players said. It lost 0.5 percent the previous day to 10,355.98.

The dollar was steady around 89.10 yen in early Asia trade, after earlier falling below 89 yen to its lowest since mid-December.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 3.1 percent on Thursday. The unexpected increase in U.S. weekly initial claims for state unemployment benefits pointed to stubborn weakness in the labor market, and heightened concerns ahead of Friday’s employment data.

Worries over the ability of Greece, Portugal and Spain to pay their debts also dented investor confidence in risky assets.

Japanese companies set to report results later in the day include Panasonic Corp, Suzuki Motor Corp, Mazda Motor Corp and Isuzu Motors Ltd.

> Dow dips below 10,000 mark on eurozone debt, jobs data > Dollar, yen surge as Europe woes curb risk appetite Debt rises on jobless data, sovereign risk jitters. Gold posts biggest one-day loss since 2008. Oil plunges 5 pct, biggest drop since July.

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(Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei set to slide on yen, Wall Street