July 21, 2017 / 3:21 AM / 2 years ago

Nikkei edges down as market analyses ECB; Yaskawa soars

* Yaskawa soars after raising forecast

* Dollar-yen impact limited on Japan stocks longer-term - analyst

By Ayai Tomisawa

TOKYO, July 21 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average edged down on Friday morning as investors took in the European Central Bank’s policy talk, while individual companies such as Yaskawa Electric soared on strong profit forecasts.

The Nikkei dropped 0.3 percent to 20,094.31 in midmorning trade. For the week, the benchmark index is on track to fall 0.1 percent.

The European Central Bank (ECB) left its ultra-easy monetary policy unchanged, and President Mario Draghi said that policymakers would discuss potential tweaks to its bond-buying programme in the autumn.

Analysts said the slight weakening in the dollar against the yen after the ECB meeting would not undermine support for the Nikkei around the psychologically important mark of 20,000.

The Nikkei has managed to stay above 20,000 for most of the time since July 10 and now, in which time the dollar dropped to below 112 yen from mid-114 yen.

In the broader market, the Topix even ended at near two-year highs on Thursday and its market capitalization hit more than 600 trillion yen, the highest since August 2015.

“On a daily basis, the market gets emotional about currency levels, but we don’t have to worry too much about the dollar-yen level so often because it has been proven that the Japanese stock market downplayed it in the past few weeks,” said Chisato Haganuma, chief equity strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“Investors would rather focus on how listed companies such as Yaskawa make profits in emerging markets and other places -shrugging off the currency impact.”

Yaskawa Electric jumped more than 15 percent to hit a record high of 2,938 yen after raising its profit forecast. It expects an operating profit of 45.5 billion yen for the fiscal year through February 2018, up from previously forecast 37.0 billion yen thanks to better than expected demand from China and Korea.

Canon Inc also attracted buyers, rising 1.4 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that the company’s operating profit for the year ended December 2017 likely was likely to be about 330 billion yen, compared with the company’s expectations of 270 billion yen.

Financial stocks lost ground. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group dropped 1.0 percent and Mizuho Financial Group declined 0.6 percent. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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