May 10, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 2 months ago

Nikkei rises as risk appetite recovers; Toyota drives higher again

TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average rose on Thursday as gains on Wall Street and a steady yen boosted investors’ risk appetite, while Toyota extended its rally the day after publishing full-year results.

Toyota Motor rose 2.3 percent to 7,592 yen, a fresh three-month high, and was the most traded stock by turnover.

That helped lift the Nikkei, which ended up 0.4 percent at 22,497.18 points.

Bellwether Toyota’s earnings bode well for the Japanese market, traders said, boosting investor confidence in the outlook for earnings, despite worries about the yen’s volatility in the past few months.

“Toyota’s results gave the market some relief. The fact that its forecast profit decline is limited while its forex assumption is 105 yen versus the dollar is a good surprise,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Toyota shares jumped 3.8 percent on Wednesday after it published its annual results and forecast better-than-expected profits this fiscal year, along with announcing a share buyback.

Nomura Securities raised Toyota’s target price to 9,300 yen from 8,500 yen, citing its investment in new technologies such as electric powertrains and autonomous driving, while cutting costs.

In late trade, Ajinomoto surged and ended 4.3 percent higher after it said it would buy back up to 4.39 percent of its own shares worth 40 billion yen ($364.30 million).

Elsewhere, the mining sector ralliedy as oil prices stay high, with Inpex Corp surging 3.5 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp jumped 9.4 percent after it said operating profit was expected to rise 12 percent in the current financial year, driven by higher vehicle sales in Asia.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings soared 9.4 percent after the department store operator said its operating profit will likely rise 18.8 percent to 29 billion Japanese yen ($264.48 million) in the year ending March 2019.

It also expects a net profit of 13 billion yen, compared to 900 million yen in net loss in the previous year.

The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent at 1,777.62.

$1 = 109.8000 yen Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Kim Coghill

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