Japan Hot Stocks-Japan Airlines, Unicharm, H.I.S., Ricoh

Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:24am EDT

**JAPAN AIRLINES 9205.T RISES ON CREDIT SUISSE UPGRADE** Japan Airlines Corp rose 3.6 percent to 257 yen after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the carrier to "neutral" from "underperform".

Credit Suisse cited prospects for brisk business class demand for JAL's international flights, fuel savings from using smaller aircraft and speedier implementation of cuts to labour costs. 0200 GMT **UNICHARM (8113.T) DOWN AFTER GOLDMAN DOWNGRADES TO "NEUTRAL"**

Unicharm Corp fell 5.4 percent to 6,840 yen after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to "neutral" from "buy," saying the yen's sharp rise and the surge in crude oil prices are likely to hurt the profits of the maker of sanitary goods and paper diapers.

"The share price seems to have factored in high growth potential in Asia evident from the third quarter results, but not a recent rise in raw material prices and the yen," Goldman analyst Katsunori Tanaka wrote in a research note. 0107 GMT **H.I.S. (9603.T) AT LOWEST IN MORE THAN 4 YEARS ON F'CAST CUT**

Shares of H.I.S. Co Ltd (9603.T) fell 9.1 percent to 1,423 yen after the discount seller of airline tickets cut its sales and profit forecasts on Monday, saying fuel surcharges due to the high oil price had hit demand.

H.I.S. cut its group operating profit forecast for the year to Oct. 31 by 18.5 percent to 6.6 billion yen ($67.85 million) while lowering its sales estimate by 5.1 percent to 389 billion yen.

Earlier the stock fell as low as 1,371 yen, a level last seen in February 2004. 0103 GMT **RICOH UP, AIMS TO LIFT OPER PROFIT 33 PCT IN 3 YEARS**

Shares of Ricoh Co Ltd (7752.T) climbed 3.2 percent to 1,440 yen after Japanese office equipment maker said it aims for an operating profit of 250 billion yen ($2.57 billion) in the year to March 2011, up 33 percent from an estimated 188 billion yen for the current year ending this month. [ID:nTKX002923] 0052 GMT **TAKEFUJI 8564.T RISES ON SHARE BUYBACK**

Takefuji Corp jumped 5.4 percent to 2,160 yen after the consumer lender said on Monday it would buy back its own shares worth up to 3 billion yen ($30.84 million), or 0.9 percent of the outstanding shares between March 18 and 24.

The firm also cut its net profit outlook by 69 percent for the year ending March 31, hit by a special loss of 29.7 billion yen on a structured finance deal arranged by Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N. [ID:nT274639] 0032 GMT **MATSUMOTOKIYOSHI (3088.T) JUMPS ON SHARE BUYBACK**

Matsumotokiyoshi Holdings Co Ltd rose 6.7 percent to 1,935 yen after the drug store chain said on Monday it will buy back its own shares worth up to 5 billion yen ($51.40 million) or 5.1 percent of outstanding shares between March 19 and June 23. 0021 GMT **NIPPON OIL 5001.T UP, CONSIDERS MERGER WITH RIVAL**

Shares of Nippon Oil jumped 2.6 percent to 631 yen after Japan's largest refiner said on Tuesday it was considering a merger with rival Kyushu Oil Co. [ID:nTKX002920]

The firm said it would make an official decision on the matter later in the day, with an announcement to follow immediately. 0016 GMT **ORIX (8591.T) BID UP ON SHARE BUYBACK**

Shares of Orix Corp were untraded due to a glut of buy orders, bid at 12,140 yen, up 1.7 percent from Monday's close, after the leasing giant said on Monday it would buy back up to 30 billion yen ($308.4 million) of its own shares, or 2 percent of outstanding shares, between March 17 and April 30. 0005 GMT (For IPO news, data and diary, click <JP/IPOMENU>) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka)

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