July 30, 2019 / 6:56 AM / 3 months ago

Nikkei gains as techs rally, investors unfazed by weak earnings

* Investors look for companies with early signs of bottoming out

* More earnings coming up: Sony, Nintendo due after market close

* BOJ stands pat, market shows limited reaction

By Hideyuki Sano and Tomo Uetake

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) - Japanese shares advanced on Tuesday, led by technology firms, as investors looked beyond sluggish earnings in the previous quarter and bet on a potential recovery over the coming seasons.

The Nikkei share average rose 0.43% to 21,709.31, edging near its 2-1/2-month high of 21,823 touched last week.

“I think we are at the final phase of pricing in deteriorating earnings. Investors are starting to see recovery in 2020,” said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

“The semi-conductor sector is the easiest example. The inventory adjustment in DRAM and flash memories is coming to an end and we are increasingly starting to see 5G-related demand,” he said.

A case in point was chip-making machine manufacturer Screen Holdings, which jumped 3.5% even though the company cut its annual net profit estimate by 5.6%, citing weaker sales in its printing-related businesses and rising costs.

Investors were also buying up other tech shares that had been hit by concerns over intensifying frictions between the United States and China over trade and technological issues.

Fanuc Corp climbed 3.1% as its quarterly results beat analyst expectations even though the robot maker cut its annual profit estimates on uncertainties from trade frictions.

Hitachi was another counterintuitive mover, as the shares of the manufacturing conglomerate rose 3.0% despite reporting a 16.0% fall in quarterly operating profit, due to worsening market for smart phone and car related materials.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries followed the normal script of getting ditched on weak earnings, diving 5.7% after the transportation and heavy equipment maker reported the first quarterly net loss in 10 years for the April-June period.

Japan’s industrial output also fell a bigger-than-expected 3.6% to 1-1/2-year lows in June but that did not shake investors’ confidence either.

More companies including Sony, Nintendo and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, are due to announce earnings after market close on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the Bank of Japan held off on expanding stimulus but signalled its readiness to do so “without hesitation,” if a global slowdown jeopardizes the country’s economic recovery.

Growing fallout from the U.S.-China trade war has prompted major central banks to signal more easing and put pressure on the BOJ, which has far less policy ammunition left to deal with a significant downturn.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut its interest rates on Wednesday for the first time since the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

The broader Topix gained 0.45% to 1,575.58. Turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board rose to 2.09 trillion yen ($19.2 billion) versus the previous day’s 1.74 trillion yen, due in part to rebalancing for regular changes in the Topix weightings ($1 = 108.6000 yen) (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano & Tomo Uetake; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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