August 7, 2018 / 7:01 AM / 4 months ago

Nikkei up after SoftBank jumps on strong Q1; rebounding China market calms sentiment

* SoftBank contributes hefty positive points to Nikkei

* Pioneer nosedives after its net loss widens

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average gained on Tuesday after index-heavyweight SoftBank jumped on the back of strong first-quarter results, while a rebound in Chinese shares also helped overall sentiment.

The Nikkei ended up 0.7 percent to 22,662.74.

SoftBank Group Corp surged 6.5 percent to a nine-month high after it reported a 49 percent jump in quarterly profit, boosted by the sale of its stake in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart in the first public divestment by its massive Vision Fund.

The stock contributed a hefty 69 positive points to the Nikkei benchmark index.

The broader Topix rose 0.8 percent to 1,746.05.

The focus was also on more first-quarter earnings releases.

According to Mizuho Securities, a total of about 72 percent of Japanese companies with the fiscal year ending March 2019 reported their first quarter results so far, with an 8.9 percent rises in their quarterly pretax profits and 1.1 percent gain in their annual forecasts.

“The achievements so far have been better than expected,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a strategist at Mizuho Securities, adding that investors’ have temporarily shifted their focus to Japanese corporate earnings from global trade war worries.

At 0625 GMT, the Shanghai Composite index was up 2.3 percent at 2,768.16, bouncing after a battering in recent days and helping calm market sentiment.

Japan Steel Works jumped 18.5 percent after it raised its net profit outlook for the fiscal year ending March 2019 to 18 billion yen from 15 billion yen, thanks to an improvement in its industrial machinery business.

Rakuten Inc soared 6.8 percent after it reported a 30.7 percent rise in its January-June operating profit. Kyodo reported that the e-commerce operator will likely have lower-than-expected investment costs as it prepares to enter the mobile phone business.

On the downside, Pioneer Corp nosedived 24 percent to a nine-year low after the car navigation system maker reported a net loss of 6.663 billion yen, compared to a net loss of 2.035 billion yen in the previous year. It posted extraordinary losses related to litigation concerning patent license with an European company.

The company also said that it expects to record an operating loss for fiscal 2019. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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