Japan's Nikkei ends at seven-week high; Sony jumps on robust outlook

TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average ended at a seven-week high on Friday, underpinned by the Nasdaq’s strong performance overnight, with Sony Group and others leading the charge after reporting strong growth outlook.

The Nikkei rose 0.39% to close at 27,509.46, its highest close since Dec 16. The index rose 0.46% for the week.

The broader Topix edged up 0.26% at 1,970.26 but lost 0.6% for the week.

“Companies’ outlook was clearly reflected in their share prices, like Sony,” said Takamasa Ikeda, senior portfolio manager at GCI Asset Management.

“Investors wanted to confirm their outlook before making active bets.”

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 ended higher overnight and touched roughly five-month highs, as a more dovish-than-expected message from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell boosted equities and Meta Platforms shares soared on rigorous cost controls.

Sony Group jumped 6.18% after the game maker raised profit forecast and raised its PlayStation 5 game console sales target by 1 million units to 19 million for the year to March.

ANA Holdings rose 1.68% after the operator of Japan’s largest airline raised its full-year profit forecast as travel demand recovers.

On the other hand, competitor Japan Airlines slipped 3.6% even as it returned to profit.

Z Holdings surged 12.21% after announcing a merger with a messaging app company Line Corp and internet firm Yahoo Japan.

Kawasaki Kisen rose 4.49% after the shipping firm raised full-year dividend forecast, while cutting annual net profit forecast.

Trading houses Marubeni and Itochu <8001.T raised their annual dividend forecast, thanks to record quarterly profits, and announced share buybacks to reward investors.

Marubeni gained 4.41% while Itochu lost 1.62%.

Among losers, Panasonic Holdings fell 3.11% after the maker of electric appliances cut its annual operating profit forecast. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)