• Tokyo investors anticipate US work data, Federal meet

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    TOKYO: Tokyo investors will look to US unemployment figures next week ahead of a key meeting of the Federal Reserve mid-September, while focusing on threatened military action against Syria.

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    The United States is scheduled to release August payroll data next Friday, with economists expecting the employment picture to brighten, markinganother pick-up in the world’s lar-gest economy.

    Some analysts forecast that the unemployment rate will remain unchanged at its four-year low of 7.4 percent in August.

    “It’s quite likely that we’ll see some positive figures,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior analyst at Daiwa Securities.

    Ahead of its September 17 to 18 meeting, dealers are looking for more evidence that the Federal Reserve is ready to pull back on its massive stimulus plan.

    In the week to August 30, the benchmark Nikkei index fell 1.99 percent, or 271.69 points to 13,388.86, while the Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 3.12 percent, or 35.58 points to 1,106.05.

    Though the Topix fell around 3 percent this week, the decline was still within expectations, Sato said, adding that, “In a market like this, stock could be expected to rise” in the coming weeks.

    On Friday, Tokyo stocks dropped 0.53 percent despite data showing consumer prices in July rose at their fastest pace in almost five years, with the data largely being ignored by the market.

    Traders remained nervous about a possible US-led strike on Syria.

    While British lawmakers voted against punitive strikes after Syria’s alleged chemical attack on its own civilians, the United States has indicated it is willing to act alone if it is unable to form a coalition response.

    “The Syrian issue has already been factored in,” Sato added.

    “So the execution of the punitive strikes should not have a negative impact on the market,” he further said.

    Selling was also fueled on Friday as the dollar slipped to 98.11 yen in forex trade, down from 98.32 yen in New York City on Thursday afternoon.

    Traders seemed unmoved by news that Japanese consumer prices rose 0.7 percent in July, their fastest rate in almost five years. The figure follows June’s 0.4-percent increase, which marked the first rise in 14 months.

    While the data gave cheer to the government’s easy-money policies aimed at ending deflation, the rise largely stemmed from higher energy costs and, in the absence of a sustained rise in wages, will pressure purse strings.

    AFP

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