TOKYO Nov 14 Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
(SMFG), Japan's No.3 bank by assets, posted a 5.5
percent increase in first-half net profit, helped by investment
gains from government bond trading.
Net profit rose to 331.0 billion yen ($4.2 billion) in
April-September from 313.7 billion yen a year earlier, SMFG said
on Wednesday. That's in line with the 330 billion yen guidance
provided by the bank last month.
For the full year through March 2013, SMFG raised its net
profit forecast to 540 billion yen from 480 billion yen. That
compares with an average estimate of 503.1 billion yen in a poll
of 16 analysts by Thomson Reuters.
SMFG has enjoyed solid gains from trading of government
bonds, which benefited from their safe-haven appeal due to
growing global economic uncertainty.
The gains, however, were countered by losses on its equity
portfolio as some of the stocks held by SMFG plunged far below
their values on the bank's book. Japanese banks traditionally
own stakes in their corporate clients.
First-half stock-related losses widened to 132.9 billion yen
from 12.1 billion yen a year earlier, SMFG said.
Shares in SMFG have climbed 10.5 percent so far this year,
outperforming a 2.5 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average
($1 = 79.4400 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Ryan Woo)