Nikkei edges up; soft yen and BOJ hopes offset profit warnings
* KDDI gains in heavy trade in spite of weak earnings * Nintendo cuts f'cast, but stock's fall softened by new Wii * Soft yen and hopes of easing support the market By Sophie Knight TOKYO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average inched up in early Thursday trade as a weaker yen and expectations of further monetary easing by the Bank of Japan offset cuts in guidance from Nintendo Co Ltd and other firms. KDDI Corp was the most-traded share by turnover, rising 4.8 percent to a 1 year-high, in spite of logging a first-half drop in operating profit, with analysts noting that the mobile operator seemed confident of two-digit operating profit growth in the next business year. The Nikkei added 0.5 percent to 8,999.17 after snapping a seven-day winning streak on Wednesday. "There are lots of companies whose downward revisions were much wider than expectations," said Yasuo Sakuma, portfolio manager at Bayview Asset Management. "But it's a tug of war between poor corporate earnings and the softer yen." Masayuki Doshida, senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities, said the market was likely to hold onto its recent gains until the Bank of Japan's policy meeting on Oct. 30, when investors expect policymakers to increase its asset-buying scheme and to discuss future steps. "There is a very strong wait-and-see feeling at the moment and most people are playing individual stocks rather than the market as a whole," he said. Weak Japanese earnings had been flagged by underwhelming results from U.S. firms, particularly in the tech sector, and market participants said this had been mostly factored in. A more attractive exchange rate also helped even firms that slashed their outlook to advance. One of those was Nidec Corp, which gained 5.4 percent despite cutting its annual operating profit forecast by 16 percent. Management said it would implement emergency profit-boosting measures. Investors were relatively unperturbed by Nintendo Co Ltd's deep forecast cuts, in the hope that its new Wii console will spur growth. The stock dropped 1.1 percent after the video games maker cut its annual profit outlook to 20 billion yen ($251 million) from the 35 billion yen forecast in July. "There are much fewer people holding this stock compared to a year ago, hardly any institutional investors," said Sakuma of Bayview Asset Management. "The share was even positive for a while -- it's as if people don't really care what the stock does." Sharp Corp, whose share price had lost 75 percent for the year to date through Wednesday, sagged a further 4.8 percent after the Nikkei business daily said the company is likely to log a first-half loss of around $5 billion, almost double that projected in August, due to restructuring costs. So far, 9 out of the 12 Nikkei companies that have reported earnings have come in under analysts' expectations, with some fearing the worst is yet to come from exporters saddled with a strong yen that erodes overseas revenue when repatriated. Some firms have managed to buck that trend. Mitsubishi Motor Corp hiked its first-half operating profit forecast by 3 percent to 30.8 billion yen, helping the stock rise 2.9 percent.
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