Japan Stocks: Komatsu, IHI, NGK Insulators, Olympus, Toto

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 81.67, or 0.9 percent, to 8,762.31 at 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.

Construction-machinery makers: Komatsu Ltd. (6301 JT) and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. (6305 JT) gained after Caterpillar Inc. (CAT US), the world’s largest construction and mining-equipment maker, posted higher-than-expected third-quarter profit and said 2012 revenue will rise as the U.S. and other global economies recover.

Komatsu gained 3.1 percent to 1,833 yen. Hitachi Construction advanced 2.7 percent to 1,433 yen. Kubota Corp. (6326 JT) added 1.6 percent to 635 yen.

Steelmakers: Nippon Steel Corp. (5401 JT) slid 2.8 percent to 209 yen and Nisshin Steel Co. (5407 JT) fell 2.3 percent to 127 yen after Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered its investment rating on the steelmakers to “underperform” from “neutral.” Kobe Steel Ltd. (5406 JT) lost 2.3 percent and Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co. (5423 JT) slumped 3.2 percent after their ratings were cut to “neutral” from “buy.” JFE Holdings Inc. (5411 JT), which was rated “underperform” by Merrill, sank 3.1 percent. “We are bearish on the overall sector,” as earnings in the fiscal year ending in March 2013 will likely drop, Merrill Lynch today said in a report.

Corona Corp. (5909 JT), a maker of air-conditioners and heaters, rallied 4 percent to 1,468 yen. Net income was 900 million yen in the six months ended September, beating its 20 million yen forecast, on growing sales, according to a preliminary earnings statement.

IHI Corp. (7013 JT), a heavy-machinery maker, slipped 3.8 percent to 178 yen. First-half net income at IHI missed its forecast by 29 percent after the value of its securities holdings declined. IHI posted net income of 5 billion yen in the six months ended September, compared with a forecast of 7 billion yen, according to a preliminary earnings statement.

Nissen Holdings Co. (8248 JO), a mail-order business operator, tumbled 6.1 percent to 497 yen after saying nine-month net income plunged 47 percent to 716 million yen. It cited a charge related to a change in accounting methods.

NGK Insulators Ltd. (5333 JT) plunged 17 percent to 926 yen, its lowest since December 2008. The Nikkei newspaper reported today that the maker of electrical insulators has asked customers not to use its NaS sodium-sulfur batteries after a Sept. 21 fire at a Mitsubishi Materials plant. The company said it is investigating the cause of the fire, and said it was not the source of the Nikkei report.

Olympus Corp. (7733 JT) rallied 8.2 percent to 1,189 yen after falling by 56 percent in the past seven days. Japan Securities Finance Co., a provider of loans for margin transactions, said yesterday it may limit the lending of Olympus shares to brokerages due to overwhelming demand. Shares have plunged as the company faces scrutiny over $687 million it paid advisers in the $2 billion acquisition of Gyrus Group Plc.

Separately, Olympus concluded in a 2009 probe that it was “not able to discover any illegal or unjust points” related to the fees, according to a copy of the report obtained by Bloomberg News.

Penta-Ocean Construction Co. (1893 JT), a general contractor, rose 2.4 percent to 255 yen. Net income was 900 million yen in the six months ended Sept. 30, swinging from a forecast loss of 600 million yen, according to a preliminary earnings statement.

Toto Ltd. (5332 JT), a maker of ceramic fixtures such as toilets, slumped 4.3 percent to 648 yen. The company cut its net income forecast 7.7 percent to 12 billion yen in the year ending March 31.

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