April 28, 2020 / 6:39 AM / in a month

Japan stocks take breather after big rally on profit booking

SYDNEY, April 28 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks ended steady on Tuesday as investors booked profits after sharp gains in the previous session, while a raft of better-than-expected earnings results and forecasts supported the major indexes.

The benchmark Nikkei average slipped 0.1% to close at 19,771.19, a day after the index posted a hefty gain of 2.7% and ahead of the Showa Day holiday on Wednesday.

The Nikkei volatility index, considered a fear gauge based on option pricing, dropped as much as 11.3% to a 1-1/2-month low of 30.9, reflecting a decline in market worries.

Ibiden Co Ltd soared 15.1% after the electronic components maker forecast a 37.2% increase in operating profit for the current business year through March 2021.

Renesas Electronics Corp jumped 7.7% after the maker of semiconductors for cars recorded a net profit of 11.3 billion yen ($105 million) for the January-March quarter - a positive surprise for many analysts.

Kyocera Corp shed 4.8% as the company forecast a 18.3% fall in net profit for the current business year ending March, which was below analysts consensus.

Miraca Holdings Inc advanced 4.4% after the diagnostics and laboratory testing service provider’s subsidiary Fujirebio applied for government approval for Japan’s first antigen coronavirus testing kits.

Shionogi & Co Ltd climbed 3.6% following the drug maker announced a plan to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, with an aim to begin clinical trials later this year.

Shares of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC) and online brokerage SBI Holdings were in demand after the two companies agreed to jointly offer digital banking services available on smartphones, with SMBC rising 0.5% and SBI up 4.2%.

The broader Topix added 0.1% to 1,449.15, with the volume of shares traded on the main board valued at 2.11 trillion yen ($19.7 billion), below its average over the last 20 days of 2.30 trillion yen. ($1 = 107.1800 yen) (Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

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