Tokyo: Japan’s Nikkei stock average climbed 0.7% on 12 May, turning positive as the yen retreated against the dollar and exporters such as Sony Corp gained in thin trade.
Among notable gainers was Konica Minolta Holdings, which soared 12.2% after brokerage Mizuho Securities raised its rating on the company, citing the company’s relatively good outlook for the first half of the financial year in comparison to its peers.
But financials remained negative, with top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group sliding 1.9% a massive loss by American International Group revived worries about the health of the sector.
“The largest factor right now is the dollar/yen rate, with gains made by the dollar during the midday recess helping to boost exporters,” said Masayoshi Okamoto, head of dealing at Jujiya Securities.
“But basically this is just a reversal of what happened this morning when exporters were sold, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything significant,” Okamoto added.
The Nikkei was up 56.32 points at 13,711.66 after falling as low as 13,540.68 during morning trade. The broader Topix was nearly flat at 1,342.16.
Konica gained to 1,672 yen, on target for its biggest one-day percentage gain since March 2001 and the biggest contributor to the Nikkei’s rise.
Citing the company’s outlook for a decline of only 1% in operating profit year-on-year for the first half of the financial year, Mizuho Securities analyst Ryosuke Katsura wrote: “With rivals all expecting double-digit profit declines, we take a positive view of the company’s comparatively strong targets for 1H, which appear achievable.”
Konica on Friday said it expects operating profit to be almost flat at 120 billion yen for the year ending in March 2009, which Katsura said was in line with his expectations.