Nikkei inches up to near 5-yr highs on weak yen; Canon, Nintendo sag
* Weak yen trend underpins market * Canon, Nintendo suffer as investors disappoint with guidance * Shiseido falls after writing down $1.9 bln U.S. acquisition By Tomo Uetake TOKYO, April 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average inched up to a near five-year high on Thursday, but the mood was tempered by sharp losses for Canon Inc and Nintendo Co Ltd as they failed to meet investors' expectations of strong earnings guidance. Market analysts had expected Japanese companies to aggressively raise earnings guidance after the yen weakened nearly 15 percent this year, driven by bold government and central bank policies to revive growth. The yen last traded at 99.39 to the dollar. The Nikkei added 0.2 percent to 13,869.92 after trading as high as 13,906.76, its highest level in nearly five years, helped by a weak yen and gains for some exporters. The index jumped 2.3 percent on Wednesday. Data from the Ministry of Finance showed that foreign investors were net sellers of Japanese equities last week, with a net outflow of 27.9 billion yen after they bought 1.57 trillion yen of stocks in the week before. "The weekly data on foreign investors' capital flow, which was released just before the opening bell, has dampened the market's upward momentum," said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities. Canon Inc sank 6 percent, retreating from a one-year high, after the camera-and-printer maker lifted its annual operating profit forecast by nearly 10 percent to 450 billion yen ($4.5 billion), but below a market consensus of 510 billion yen. It was the second top-weighted loser and the fourth-most traded stock on the main board by turnover. Rival Nikon Corp eased 2.2 percent. A sales trader said the selling was linked to earnings, but added that it was a short term phenomenon. "On a longer term basis, the conclusion is that yen FX weakness is helping," he said. Gains in Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co , TDK Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp helped underpin the Nikkei. They were up between 1 and 1.3 percent. The benchmark Nikkei has rallied 60 percent since mid-November, when Shinzo Abe, who became prime minister in December, promised expansionary monetary and fiscal policies to revive the world's third-largest economy. NINTENDO, SHISEIDO FALL Nintendo Co Ltd also suffered, down 8 percent despite the maker of home video games lifting its forecast for an operating profit of 100 billion yen after two years of losses. The broader Topix index gained 0.3 percent to 1,167.87, with volume at 70 percent of its full daily average for the past 90 trading days. Shiseido Co Ltd was the fifth top-weighted loser in the Nikkei, down 3.4 percent after the cosmetic company forecast its first net loss in eight years after saying it would write down the $1.9 billion acquisition of U.S. Bare Escentuals due to disappointing sales. Analysts said, however, investors remained upbeat on the outlook for Japanese stocks. "Dollar strength is a headwind for emerging markets equities and we would use a bounce to reduce exposure further. Japan is our favourite equity market," Trevor Greetham, director of asset allocation at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, wrote in a note. "Japan benefits from dollar strength and it has very positive domestic policy settings from an equity investors' point of view." In terms of valuations, Japanese equities carry a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 14.9, a level not seen since June 2010 but is still below its 10-year average of 16.3, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.
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