May 11, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei hits 3-mth high on solid earnings, Wall St surge; Suzuki, Panasonic shine

TOKYO, May 11 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a three-month high on Friday, buoyed by tepid U.S. inflation data easing concerns over the Federal Reserve hiking rates at an accelerated pace, as well on gains for several companies posting solid earnings.

The Nikkei closed the day up 1.16 percent at 22,758.48 after brushing 22,769.16, its highest since Feb. 5. The index gained 1.3 percent this week.

There were 163 advancers on the benchmark index against 59 decliners.

The broader Topix rose 0.98 percent to 1,794.96.

Chip-related shares advanced after a surge by Apple lifted their U.S. peers. Tokyo Electron gained 2.5 percent, Advantest Corp added 0.9 pct and Murata Manufacturing climbed 4.6 percent.

Suzuki Motor Corp gained 9.0 percent after the automaker reported that its operating profit jumped 40.3 percent to 374.2 billion yen ($3.42 billion) for the year ended March, topping analyst estimates. Suzuki also anticipates a 2.3 percent rise in global vehicle sales this year to a record 3.3 million units.

With the earnings season in full swing corporate results dictated moves in other shares.

Panasonic Corp rose 4.9 percent after the electronics conglomerate reported a 58 percent surge in net profit for the year ended March to 236.04 billion yen thanks to growth in its automotive-related businesses.

Kirin Holdings advanced 2.4 percent after the brewer’s operating profit increased 26.4 percent to 74.4 billion yen in the January-March quarter.

Internet and e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc, on the other hand, lost 4.4 percent. Rakuten saw its operating profit slip 30.5 percent to 28.1 billion yen in the January-March quarter, with increases in e-commerce costs and its sponsorship deal with Spanish football club FC Barcelona seen to have weighed.

SoftBank Group Corp was up 2 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that Japan’s three megabanks will participate in the Vision Fund, an investment fund formed by the technology conglomerate in 2017.

Of Tokyo’s 33 sub-indexes, 29 gained, led by precision machinery and paper and pulp. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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