Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 180.90, or 2.1 percent, to 8,560.26 as of the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo. The following were among the most active shares in the Japanese market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Japanese Banks: Financial shares fell after U.S. lenders Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. had their long-term credit ratings downgraded by Moody’s, which cited a decreasing probability that the U.S. would support the lenders in an emergency. Citigroup Inc. had its short-term rating cut.
Separately, BNP Paribas SA initiated coverage of seven major Japanese banks, and said the outlook for the industry is “deteriorating.” The prospect of an improvement in the profitability of the banks is small, and return on equity is unlikely to improve, BNP said in a report today.
Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (8411 JT), which was rated “reduce” by BNP, slipped 1.8 percent to 112 yen. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306 JT), which was rated “hold” by BNP, declined 1.5 percent to 332 yen. Shinsei Bank Ltd. (8303 JT), which was also rated “hold”, fell 3.5 percent to 82 yen. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (8316 JT), rated “buy” by BNP, dropped 1.8 percent to 2,089 yen.
Daiwa Securities Group Inc. (8601 JT), a brokerage, dropped 4.4 percent to 283 yen. The company was cut to “underweight” from “equal weight” by Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities Co., which said the company’s “upside potential is more limited than others” after the stock performed better relative to peers.
Honda Motor Co. (7267 JT), a carmaker, fell 3.9 percent to 2,275 yen. The company is spending $50 million to expand a transmission factory in Ohio as it upgrades U.S. assembly operations and works to restore full production slowed by an earthquake. Separately, the company will spend about 5 billion yen to build a motorcycle plant in Malaysia, the Nikkei newspaper reported.
Japan Steel Works Ltd. (5631 JT), a maker of machinery for castings, fell 2.8 percent to 459 yen. The company said it plans to pay a dividend of 10 yen per share this fiscal year, compared with 12 yen the previous year.
Softbank Corp. (9984 JT), currently the sole iPhone seller in Japan, tumbled 12 percent to 2,282 yen, its biggest decline since Nov. 2008.
KDDI Corp. (9433 JT) will begin selling the iPhone 5 in Japan, Nikkei Business magazine reported. KDDI, a mobile-phone operator, slipped 0.8 percent to 624,000 yen. T-Gaia Corp. (3738 JT), a mobile-phone store operator which receives about 18 percent of its revenue from KDDI sales, jumped 8 percent to 169,300 yen.
Kintetsu Department Store Co. (8244 JO), a retailer, dropped 5.7 percent to 183 yen, its biggest drop since Feb. 24. The company said it plans to raise 24.8 billion yen ($325 million) by selling 128.9 million shares to Kintetsu Corp. (9041 JT) and seven other companies. The company also reported a first-half net loss of 9.9 billion yen, compared with its forecast of a 400 million yen profit, the company said in a preliminary earnings statement.
Kintetsu Corp. was unchanged at 312 yen.
Nippon Steel Corp. (5401 JT), a steel producer, lost 3.9 percent to 225 yen. Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. (5405 JT) declined 2.4 percent to 165 yen. The companies have settled on an outline for a planned merger that will leave Nippon Steel as the surviving entity, the Nikkei newspaper reported, without citing anyone. The merger ratio will be about 0.7 Nippon Steel shares for every Sumitomo Metal share, the report said. Both companies said nothing had been decided on the merger ratio.
NS United Kaiun Kaisha Ltd. (9110 JT), a shipping line operator, slumped 7.7 percent to 108 yen. The company forecast a net loss of 400 million yen for the half-year ending Sept. 30, compared with its previous outlook for a 100 million yen profit.
Rakuten Inc. (4755 JQ), an online retailer, fell 2.4 percent to 87,800 yen. The company agreed to buy Play Holdings Ltd. for 25 million pounds ($39 million) in cash as it expands into new markets.