Japan shares may gain next week

Japanese shares are likely to gain next week as dealers focus on the upcoming corporate results season, analysts said on Friday.

"Buying on dips are expected to sustain the bottom as individual investors who failed to catch up with the recent gains remain bullish," said Takero Inaizumi, a strategist with Mizuho Securities.

"There may be some profit-taking time to time, but that will not be a sign of a fundamental change in the recent buying trend," Inaizumi said.

In the week to April 19, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 168.66 points, or 1.25 percent, to 13,316.48, mainly due to profit-taking following a recent surge.

The Topix index of all first section shares fell 21.90 points, or 1.91 percent, to 1,126.67.

Dealers will be keeping tabs on the reporting season next week, with Honda Motor, telecom provider NTT Docomo and electronics giant NEC among the firms releasing their January-March earnings figures.

Exporters will likely be in line for buying if the dollar breaks the 100-mark following the Bank of Japan's huge stimulus earlier this month, Inaizumi said.

The greenback last week hit 99.95 yen but slipped back to as low 96 yen this week following weak Chinese growth data but economists expect it to soon pass 100 yen, which it last saw in April 2009.

In Friday afternoon trade, the dollar was trading at 99.12 yen, compared with 98.23 yen in New York late Thursday. The euro fetched $1.3087 and 129.80 yen, against $1.3050 and 128.21 yen.