Japanese stock prices posted modest gains on Monday as high-tech shares such as Tokyo Electron and Murata Manufacturing gained on upbeat earnings in otherwise holiday-lulled trading. The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 19,273.87 points, supported for now at its 100-day moving average of 19,131, though lacking momentum to re-test its one-month high of 19,289 touched on Wednesday.
The Nikkei rose more than the broader Topix, which gained 0.2 percent to 1,535.00, because of a 13 percent gain in Tokyo Electron, which has a big weighting in the Nikkei. “The pessimism we saw last month is ebbing. Investors are picking up companies that have improving earnings outlook,” said Takaaki Yoshino, chief quantitative analyst at Daiwa Securities. Tokyo Electron, the second most traded shares by turnover by mid-morning, surged after the manufacturer of chip-making machines said it sees 38.7 percent increase in operating profits in the year to March 2018.
Fujitsu gained 8.0 percent as the information technology equipment and service company posted upbeat earnings.
Murata Manufacturing, an electronics parts maker and a major Apple supplier, gained 5.2 percent. While these results have underscored the strength of the semi-conductor sector globally, the overall earnings season has so far provided limited catalyst for a further rally, market players said. “Japanese companies’ earnings seem to be bottoming out. But the improvement seems to be limited. The return-on-equity will be still little over eight percent,” said Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI Research Institute.
Honda Motor, which forecast a 16 percent fall in operating profits for the current year, slightly below analysts’ expectations, rose 0.2 percent. On the other hand, rival Mazda dropped 3.8 percent after its earning estimates fell short of market expectations. Resona Holdings, fell 4.1 percent after the banking group revised down its earnings for the financial year that ended in March.
Office machine maker Ricoh dropped 6.8 percent to near six-month lows as it projected a further fall in profits in the year to March due to restructuring costs. Japan Airlines dropped 7.2 percent after the company said it saw a 16.6 percent decline in operating profits due to costs for renewing its computer systems and other investments. Trading is expected to be slow this week due to holidays in many countries. Tokyo financial markets will be closed from Wednesday to Friday for a series of national holidays called the “Golden Week”.