Japan Stocks: Steelmakers, Hitachi, Mazda, Sapporo, Softbank

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 112.16, or 1.1 percent, to 10,543.52 at the close in Tokyo. The following were among the most active shares in the Japanese market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Steelmakers: Nippon Steel Corp. (5401 JT) and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. (5405 JT) said they will seek to merge by October next year. Nippon Steel soared 9.1 percent to 313 yen. Sumitomo Metal surged 16 percent to 224 yen. Nisshin Steel Co. (5407 JT) jumped 5.4 percent to 176 yen. Kobe Steel Ltd. (5406 JT) climbed 2.8 percent to 222 yen. JFE Holdings Inc. (5411 JT) gained 2.1 percent to 2,742 yen.

Asahi Kasei Corp. (3407 JT), a chemical maker, fell 3.4 percent to 564 yen. The company cut its full-year net income forecast 2.6 percent to 57 billion yen.

Culture Convenience Club Co. (4756 JT), a video-rental chain, surged by its daily upper limit of 80 yen, or 17 percent, to 541 yen, the biggest gain since November 2008. The company will be taken over in a management buyout for 600 yen a share.

Edion Corp. (2730 JT), an operator of electronics retail chains, rose 6.3 percent to 781 yen, the biggest gain since December 2009. The company raised its net income forecast for the year ending March 31 by 19 percent to 16 billion yen.

Hitachi Ltd. (6501 JT), Japan’s third-largest company by revenue, gained 3 percent to 487 yen, a level not seen since November 2008. The company raised its net-income forecast for the year ending March 31 to 230 billion yen ($2.82 billion) from 200 billion yen.

IHI Corp. (7013 JT), a heavy-machinery maker, rose 7.7 percent to 210 yen, the highest close since July 2008. The company boosted full-year net income forecast 33 percent to 20 billion yen.

The company won an order worth more than 10 billion yen for a floating oil-storage facility in the Gulf of Thailand from a group led by Chevron Corp. (CVX US), the Nikkei newspaper reported.

IT Holdings Corp. (3626 JT), a computer services company, tumbled 9.1 percent to 930 yen, the steepest slide since August 2009. The company cut its operating profit forecast for the year ending in March by 24 percent to 12.5 billion yen.

Jtekt Corp. (6473 JT), an autoparts maker, jumped 7.8 percent to 1,159 yen, the biggest gain since May 2009. The company had its 12-month share price estimate increased to 1,250 yen from 1,100 yen at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets.

Mazda Motor Corp. (7261 JT), Japan’s second-largest car exporter, plunged 4.6 percent to 227 yen. The company reported a third-quarter net loss of 2.7 billion yen, compared with a 4.4 billion yen profit a year earlier.

Mitsumi Electric Co. (6767 JT), an electronic-parts maker, dropped 2.4 percent to 1,322 yen. The company widened its full-year net loss forecast to 3.9 billion yen from 1.5 billion yen after raw-material costs rose.

Namco Bandai Holdings Inc. (7832 JT), a video-game developer, leapt 6.5 percent to 967 yen, the sharpest increase since December 2008. The company increased full-year operating profit forecast 23 percent to 13.5 billion yen.

Nippon Paper Group Inc. (3893 JT), a papermaker, rose 4.3 percent to 2,255 yen, the biggest increase since April 2009. The company was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Daiwa Securities Group Inc.

Nippon Sheet Glass Co. (5202 JT), a glassmaker, sank 3.6 percent to 214 yen. The company’s sales for the nine months to Dec. 31 fell 1.8 percent to 435.7 billion yen from a year earlier.

Nitto Denko Corp. (6988 JT), an electronics parts maker, climbed 4.7 percent to 4,590 yen, a level not seen since June 2008. The company said in a statement on its website it has acquired Avecia Biotechnology Inc. through Nitto Americas Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, aiming to boost its business base in the emerging nucleic acid drug market.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. (2501 JT), Japan’s fourth-largest brewer, jumped 6.2 percent to 377 yen. The company said in a preliminary earnings statement net income more than doubled to about 10.7 billion yen for the year ended Dec. 31 from 4.5 billion yen in 2009.

Sharp Corp. (6753 JT), Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, rose 5.3 percent to 879 yen, the steepest gain since May 2009. The company is in talks to supply large liquid-crystal-display panels to Samsung Electronics Co. (005930 KS) and expects to reach an agreement soon, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified industry official.

Shinsei Bank Ltd. (8303 JT), a lender partly owned by J. Christopher Flowers, advanced 2 percent to 104 yen. The company raised its full-year net income forecast to 43 billion yen from a previous prediction of 12.5 billion yen.

Softbank Corp. (9984 JT), an exclusive provider of Apple Inc.’s iPhone in Japan, rallied 3.6 percent to 2,976 yen. The company raised its annual profit forecast 20 percent to 600 billion yen, citing demand for the touch-screen smartphone.

Toray Industries Inc. (3402 JT), a textile maker, advanced 4.7 percent to 600 yen, the highest close since June 2008. The company had its share-price estimate increased to 510 yen from 470 yen at Barclays Capital.

Yamada Denki Co. (9831 JT), an electronics retailer, rose 3.5 percent to 5,960 yen. The company reported a 76 percent jump in net income to 61.9 billion yen for the April-December period with a 12 percent increase in sales.

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