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TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Mizuho Financial Group Inc , Japan's second-largest lender by assets, reported a 45 percent increase in net profit for the nine months ended December, helped by a year-end rally in Japanese equities.
Net profit climbed to 391.8 billion yen ($4.3 billion) for April-December, Mizuho said on Thursday. That compares with 271 billion yen a year earlier when a market slump led the bank to write down the value of its massive equity portfolio.
Japan's financial institutions have benefited from the nearly 20 percent gain in the benchmark Nikkei average through the final three months of 2012, powered by investor expectations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies of massive fiscal spending, aggressive monetary easing and a weaker yen.
Mizuho kept its full-year forecast at 500 billion yen, above an average estimate of 485.8 billion yen in a poll of 18 analysts by Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Mizuho rose 23.6 percent in the final three months of 2012, outperforming a 17 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average.
($1 = 91.0650 Japanese yen)
Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Matt Driskill