April 13, 2007 / 3:11 AM / 12 years ago

Nikkei up 0.1 pct as Sony up, Fast Retailing down

(Adds stocks and comment)

By Aiko Hayashi

TOKYO, April 13 (Reuters) - The Nikkei average inched up 0.14 percent on Friday as Sony Corp. (6758.T) jumped on a newspaper report forecasting upbeat earnings results for the company, but gains were offset by a loss in Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. (9983.T) after it cut its full-year forecast on Thursday.

Investors also became cautious before the Group of Seven meeting this weekend on concerns that recent weakness of the yen against the euro may prompt some comments at the meeting, said Zenshiro Mizuno, senior managing director at Marusan Securities.

“The market may be a bit weighed down by profit-taking on investors’ concern on the euro/yen, as there are some complaints about the weakness of the yen against the euro in Europe,” he said.

The euro traded at 160.55 yen EURJPY=R, down a touch from late New York, but stayed near a record high 160.87 yen hit on Thursday.

A weaker yen is a boon to companies that make the bulk of their sales abroad because it boosts profits when earnings from abroad are brought home.

The Nikkei .N225 finished the morning up 24.75 points at 17,565.17, while the TOPIX .TOPX shed 0.05 percent to 1,725.34.

Trade slowed down with 928 million shares changing hands, after climbing above 1 billion shares for the first time in a week in the previous morning session. Declining shares outnumbered advancers by 957 to 581.

SONY JUMPS, FAST RETAILING DROPS

Shares of Sony climbed 4.9 percent to 6,650 yen to a 5-year high after a newspaper said its operating profit would more than sextuple this year on strong sales of flat TVs and the PlayStation 3.[ID:nT327030]

Among other gainers, All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. (9202.T) gained 1.3 percent to 477 yen after financial sources said on Friday that Morgan Stanley (MS.N) will buy 13 hotels from the Japanese airline for an estimated 280 billion yen.

Electronics conglomerate Toshiba Corp. (6502.T) rose 1.7 percent to 886 yen after it said on Thursday it expects its group operating profit to rise 60 percent over the next three years and sales to increase by 24 percent on its microchips and nuclear power business.

But clothing company Fast Retailing dropped 5.1 percent to 8,760 yen.

The company reported a 14.6 percent drop in first half-profit on Thursday and lowered its full-year forecast for the second time after an unusually warm winter forced it to cut prices of seasonal items.[ID:nT270614]

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