Japanese stocks declined, with the Topix (TPX) Index snapping a streak of five weekly advances, after companies including Nippon Sheet Glass (5202) Co. and Oji Paper Co. cut profit forecasts on slumping demand from Europe.
Nippon Sheet Glass, which depends on Europe for about 40 percent of its sales, tumbled 12 percent after reversing its full-year forecast to a loss and saying it will fire more than 10 percent of its workers. Oji Paper led maker of cardboard and pulp products lower. Gree Inc., a social networking site whose shares more than doubled in the last year, paced gains on the Topix after beating estimates.
“It’s all about earnings today,” said Ryota Sakagami, chief strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo. “Companies with good earnings are jumping. Those with not so good results are being sold.”
The Topix, Japan’s broadest equity gauge, lost 0.2 percent to 760.69 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo. For the week, the gauge declined 0.1 percent, the first drop since the period ended Dec. 23. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.5 percent to 8,831.93 today.
Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed today after the index added 0.1 percent in New York yesterday after initial jobless claims declined. Analysts expect a report today to show U.S. employers boosted payrolls by 140,000 workers last month while the jobless rate held at an almost three-year low of 8.5 percent.
Nippon Sheet, Oji
Of the 765 companies on the Topix that have posted results for the latest quarter so far this year, 87 have exceeded analysts’ estimates while 156 have fallen short, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Nippon Sheet Glass (NKY) declined the most on the Nikkei 225 today, falling 12 percent to 132 yen. The supplier to automakers and builders said it expects a loss of 3 billion yen ($39 million) for the year through March as sales slump in Europe, it’s biggest market. The company had forecast profit of 14 billion yen.
Papermakers declined the most among the 33 Topix industry groups after Oji cut its profit outlook 14 percent. Europe’s debt crisis has reduced demand and flooding in Thailand hurt production, the Tokyo-based company said. Oji dropped 3.8 percent to 377 yen. Nippon Paper Group Inc. fell 1.7 percent to 1,612 yen.
Yamaha Corp. tumbled 7 percent to 683 yen after BNP Paribas SA cut its equity rating to “hold” from “buy.” The maker of pianos and other instruments lowered its full-year earnings outlook before the market closed yesterday.
The Topix (TPX) sank 19 percent last year amid concern U.S. growth is sputtering and Europe’s debt crisis will damage the banking system, damping demand in two of Japan’s biggest export markets. Stocks also fell amid natural and nuclear disasters and a surge in the yen, cutting the price of shares on the index to 0.9 times book value.
Among shares that advanced today, Gree (3632) soared 13 percent to 2,565 yen after raising its forecast for full-year profit by as much as a third to 50 billion yen on revenue from social network games.
Sumco Corp. gained the most on the Nikkei 225. The maker of silicon wafers used to make semiconductors surged by its daily limit of 100 yen, or 17 percent, to 675 yen, after saying it will cut about 1,300 jobs. The company also said it will sell 45 billion yen of preferred shares to companies including Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.
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