TOKYO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average rose 1.9percent on Friday, helped by what some market players said wasbuying of futures and a slight softening in the yen against thedollar.

Stronger-than-expected U.S. data on jobless benefits andtrade and an upward revision to Japan's second-quarter GDP,though widely expected, added to investor confidence, marketplayers said, with blue-chip exporters leading the market'sadvance.

"Easing of European financial worries and dollar/yen tradingin the 84 yen level prompted some short-covering," said KenichiHirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.

"Further upward impetus came from funds that had waited untilthey saw the settlement price of options and futures to joinbuying in the market."

The benchmark Nikkei rose 173.73 points to 9,272.12, pullingaway from a 16-month low of 8,796.45 hit on Sept. 1.

The broader Topix gained 1.4 percent to 838.75.

Estimates by local brokerages slightly after the open showedNikkei futures and options contracts expiring in September likelysettled at 9,150.32. The official settlement price will beannounced by the Osaka Securities Exchange after the marketcloses on Friday.

In early Asia trade, the dollar changed hands at 84.26 yen,compared with the 15-year low of 83.34 yen hit this week asinvestors bet Japanese authorities were not ready to intervene toweaken their currency.

U.S. stocks edged up after new U.S. claims for unemploymentinsurance fell more than expected last week to their lowest levelin two months.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than forecast in July asexports shot to the highest level since August 2008, painting arosier picture for economic growth.

Camera maker Canon Inc climbed 5.4 percent to 3,740 yen afterthe company said on Thursday it would spend as much as 50 billionyen to buy back up to 1.2 percent of its shares outstandingbetween Sept. 10 and Nov. 12 to improve its capital efficiency.

Other exporters rose, with Kyocera Corp gaining 2.1 percentto 7,700 yen. (Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)