TOKYO Oct 26 Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
, Japan's third-largest lender, said its first-half net
profit exceeded its earnings guidance issued in May by nearly
one-third, boosted by strong bond trading gains and lower credit
SMFG said on Friday that its net profit likely came in at
330 billion yen ($4.12 billion) for the six months to Sept. 30,
up from its May forecast of 250 billion yen and a 5 percent
increase from 313.8 billion yen a year earlier.
Gains from trading in Japanese government bonds continued to
drive the bank's profits as the country's sovereign debt offered
investors safe-haven appeal amid shaky economic conditions and a
lack of demand for loans among corporate clients.
The profit growth defied hefty valuation losses on the
bank's equity portfolio. SMFG said it booked 150 billion yen in
equity impairment losses for the first half.
The bank said the six-month figure was preliminary and it
retained its full-year net profit forecast at 480 billion yen,
down 7.4 percent from a year earlier and below an average
estimate of 492.8 billion yen in a poll of 16 analysts by
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
It is scheduled to announce full first-half results on Nov.
14, along with Japan's other top banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group and Mizuho Financial Group.
($1 = 80.1650 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Edmund Klamann)