SMFG says first-half profit likely to outstrip forecast
TOKYO Oct 4 (Reuters) - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc said on Friday its net profit is likely to have easily beat its own forecast for the six months ended in September, buoyed by a stock market rally fueled by expectations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic growth initiatives.
Japan's third-largest lender by assets said net profit is likely to have come at 480 billion yen ($4.9 billion) for the first half, far above its own forecast of 290 billion yen issued in May. The bank said the figure was preliminary and it is scheduled to announce its official six-month results in mid-November.
The bank said its profits were boosted after stocks rallied from April to September, which pushed up the value of its stock holdings. Its stock brokerage units also benefited from a surge in investor activities. The bank also booked gains after it released provisions set aside for potential bad loans.
The bank left intact its full-year net profit forecast at 580 billion yen.
($1 = 97.2900 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Matt Driskill)