Nikkei tiptoes up; BOJ easing expectations sustain gains
* Fanuc drags after H1 earnings disappoint * Canon weak after cutting forecast but Advantest jumps * Expectations of easing and weaker yen bolster market By Sophie Knight TOKYO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average inched up to trade at four-week highs on Friday, as growing expectations for significant easing from the Bank of Japan and softness in the yen offset profit warnings from Canon Inc and other domestic firms. The Nikkei added 0.1 percent to 9,059.94 , breaking above its 200-day average of 9,059.18. Sources said the Bank of Japan is expected to ease monetary policy next week by expanding asset purchases by at least 10 trillion yen and may make a commitment to continue injecting cash until 1 percent inflation is achieved. "The yen has gained a solid foothold above 80 versus the dollar, so we'll continue to see the positive effects of a weaker yen," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities. "Expectations for the BOJ to ease are running very high - it's markedly different to previous months." Canon lost 1.6 percent after cutting its full-year profit outlook by almost 10 percent and posting a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit. Its sales were hit by anti-Japan sentiment in China after a territorial row and slowing demand in Europe. "The market is confused about how to react to the earnings cuts and to what extent they're priced in," said Yuuki Sakurai, CEO of Fukoku Capital Management. "People don't know how to weigh up the consequences of the diplomatic problems with China." Earnings from Japanese firms have hardly been stellar - 13 out of the 19 Nikkei companies reporting so far have undershot expectations, but some companies have seen their shares gain on relief that their results were not worse than expected. Advantest Corp shot 5.3 percent higher after its downward revision in guidance for this financial year fell within market expectations, with traders noting the chip tester maker was still expecting a profit. But index heavyweight Fanuc Ltd lost 1.8 percent after the industrial robot maker said its operating profit had fallen 12.6 percent in the first half and forecast a 7.6 percent drop in that figure for the full year. Elsewhere, Aeon Co Ltd gained 1.3 percent after the Nikkei business daily said the supermarket operator will buy out Carrefour SA's Malaysian subsidiary for just over 20 billion yen ($250 million). The broader Topix was flat at 751.51.
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