TOKYO, July (Reuters) - Mizuho Financial Group on Monday reported a 91 percent surge in its financial first quarter profit, driven by bond trading gains as Japanese and U.S. government debt’s safe-haven appeal increased as the global economic outlook darkened.
Mizuho, Japan’s second-largest lender by assets, said April-June net profit was 183.9 billion yen ($2.4 billion), up from 96.4 billion yen a year earlier.
The bank kept its full-year net profit forecast at 500 billion yen, up 3.1 percent from a year earlier and above an average estimate of 450.5 billion yen in a poll of 18 analysts by Thomson Reuters.
Japanese government bond and U.S. Treasury prices surged in the quarter as persistent worries about Europe’s debt crisis and increasing signs of sluggish global growth helped to underpin demand for sovereign debt still considered a safe haven.
Mizuho and rival Japanese banks have relied on bond trading profits in recent years as they continue to suffer sluggish loan demand at home.
Shares of Mizuho rose 26 percent so far this year, outperforming a 2.7 percent gain in benchmark Nikkei average . ($1 = 78.1900 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Alex Richardson)