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LEAD: Tokyo stocks rebound, but gains capped by corporate earnings worries.

TOKYO, Jan. 14 Kyodo


Tokyo stocks rebounded Wednesday morning after the previous day's sharp fall, but gains were limited due to worries about upcoming corporate earnings reports in Japan and the United States.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 68.11 points, or 0.81 percent, from Tuesday to 8,482.02. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 11.29 points, or 1.39 percent, to 825.41.

Gainers were led by mining, sea transport and electrical machinery issues. Among the sectors that declined were real estate, retail, and pulp and paper.

Yumi Nishimura, deputy general manager of the global product planning department at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co., attributed the morning gains to the plunge the previous day.

She said stocks were underpinned for now as some investors have factored in dismal earnings reports and opted to buy, harboring hopes for U.S. economic policies to be carried out by President-elect Barack Obama.

Brokers said Tokyo stocks also rose thanks to gains in electrical machinery issues following media reports Wednesday about Toshiba Corp.'s plan to buy Fujitsu Ltd.'s hard-disk drive business for tens of billions of yen.

Volume leader Toshiba gained 22 yen, or nearly 6 percent, to 407 yen, and Fujitsu advanced 22 yen, or over 5 percent, to 416 yen.

Still, most Tokyo market participants doubted that the buying will last long due to lingering anxiety over the sluggishness of Japanese exporter earnings amid the yen's strength relative to the U.S. dollar, brokers said.

The dollar, which traded around the 92 yen line Jan. 5, the first business day of 2009 in Japan, has gradually fallen to the lower 89 yen level as of Wednesday morning.

''Wariness over corporate earnings reports remains strong as the market braces for the upcoming earnings reports season (in Japan and the United States), and the environment has not changed that much with the dollar again falling below the 90 yen level,'' Nishimura said.

Many U.S. companies are set to release their earnings data for the Oct.-Dec. period of 2008 beginning next week. The release of Japanese corporate earnings for the Oct.-Dec. period is scheduled to come in full swing from later this month.

On the First Section, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones 1,077 to 504, with 131 others ending the morning unchanged.

Morning value leader Toyota Motor, which fell sharply the previous day, advanced 70 yen, or over 2 percent, to 2,945 yen.

Real estate shares performed poorly, with Mitsui Fudosan falling 25 yen, or nearly 2 percent, to 1,270 yen, and Mitsubishi Estate dropping 30 yen, or over 2 percent, to 1,261 yen.

Nishimura said that real estate issues were weak due to the sluggish global economic outlook, reinforced by recent dim macroeconomic readings such as the December ''economy watcher'' survey released by the government on Tuesday.

The survey showed that business confidence among workers with jobs sensitive to economic trends hit a record low in December.

Trading volume on the main section came to 887.04 million shares, down from Tuesday morning's 925.08 million.

The TSE's Second Section index was down 2.01 points, or 0.10 percent, to 1,938.93 on a volume of 10.43 million shares. On the Osaka Securities Exchange, the near-term March Nikkei 225 index futures contract was up 100 points to 8,470.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 19, 2009
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